Archive for the ‘bus’ Category

Montreal to brand its 10-minute max service

There are already many routes in Montréal that have a service frequency of more than 1 bus every 10 minutes, however, the STM has decided to launch a new branding called “Réseau 10 minutes MAX”.  This branding will appear on buses, bus stop signs and perhaps even next year’s network map.

This idea seems to be rapidly catching on all over the world.  Jarrett Walker at Human Transit has been promoting this idea via his web site.

STM's new Branding

STM's new Branding

The following lines will have at least 6 buses per hour between 6h and 21h:
18 Beaubien
24 Sherbrooke
51 Édouard-Montpetit
67 Saint-Michel
69 Gouin
80 du Parc
105 Sherbrooke
121 Sauvé/Cote-Vertu
139 Pie-IX
141 Jean-Talon Est
165 Côte-des-Neiges

Additionally, the following lines will have at least 6 buses an hour in one direction the either in the AM (6h to 14h) or PM (14h to 21h) peak periods (these are pretty generous definitions):
32 Lacordaire
33 Langelier
44 Armand-Bombardier
45 Papineau
48 Perras
49 Maurice-Duplessis
55 Saint-Laurent
64 Grenet
90 Saint-Jacques
97 Mont-Royal
103 Monkland
106-506 Newman
132 Viau
161 Van Horne
171 Henri-Bourassa
187 René-Levesque
193 Jarry
197 Rosemont
211 Bord-du-Lac
470 Express Pierrefonds

Since I live in NDG I decided to see what this announcement actually means in practical terms to the 90 and 105 routes that stop at Vendome metro:

90 Saint-Jacques East Bound: (16 extra departures per day)
90 East-bound stopping at Vendome (stop #53935)

90 Saint-Jacques West Bound: (5 extra departures per day)

105 Sherbrooke arriving at Vendome: (6 extra arrivals per day)

105 Sherbrooke Departing from Vendome: (9 extra departures per day)


  • The red color is the existing service as of August 25th.  However, the publicly available information just shows a “…” when there is more than 1 bus every 6 minutes.  In this case, I just assumed it was every six minutes (that’s why none of the charts go higher than 10 buses).  I could be wrong however for some of the most popular lines.
  • The tan color represents the extra buses added to the service pattern as a result of the new branding.
  • I assumed that if there were already 6 buses or more during that hour then the STM would not add any more.  This is likely to be true since this parameter is constrained by the number of buses and drivers that the STM has available.
  • I assumed that the STM would only add enough buses to hit the 6 per hour rate – they could add more.

These charts show that for both types of branding (the all day and the peak period) there is still quite an increase in service.  Well done STM!

Here’s their new map


Bixi in 2 Washingtons!

The Gazette is reporting today (May 21, 2010) that the city and Bixi together have announced that bixi will be deployed in Washington DC and the University of Washington in Washington state.

Starting this fall, 1100 bikes and 114 stations will be deployed in Washington DC and Arlington VA.

30 bikes will be available at Washington State University – presumably for the start of the September semester.  No news about how may stations or bike docks.  Based on the ratio of Washington DC, there should be only 3! No news about how many bike docks for each however.

The Washington DC announcement is very interesting because the city already has a contract with a different bike sharing company – SmartBike by Clear Channel.  The limitations of this system is that it is much more expensive to deploy since the road needs to be dug up to install the docking stations.  The current system, after at least one year, has 125 bike docks in 10 stations.  Perhaps the reason why the city decided to move to a different system could be explained here?

See the summary page for Bixi tracking

Toronto to get Bixi?

The Public works and Infrastructure committee of the city council of Toronto will vote on April 20 to accept the deal that the city staff had negotiated with the Bixi.
If the vote is passed, 1000 new Bixi’s will be rolling on the streets of Toronto in the summer of 2011.

In reading this document, some interesting details come out:

  • For a project of 1000 bikes and 80 bike stations, an initial outlay of 4.8 M$ is necessary.  Montreal spent 15 M$ for 3000 bikes in phase I plus another 7 M$ for 2000 extra bikes in Phase II
  • The yearly operating costs are anticipated to be 1.2M$.  I think Montreal’s 15 M$ and 7M$ include the operating costs.
  • Approximately 1% of bikes are expected to be vandalized beyond repair per year.  Montreal’s first year number was 125 bikes (phase I,  in Montreal had 3000 bikes = 4%)

Numbers for Montreal’s first year of operation:

  • 11000 subscribers * 78 $ = 858,000$
  • 113000 single day users * 5$ = 565,000$
  • Usage costs = ?? (no info about this)
  • 60% of the single day users were tourists!

Toronto reports:

As far as I know, this kind of information is NOT available to the public in Montreal.   Generally you have to go the the council meeting to look at a binder that has the information.  There is no web site that archives this material.  You need to file an access to information request to get it.

Update May 15, 2010 – Bixi approved for a 2011 launch!

STM Launches new Airport Shuttle Service

The STM has announced a new bus service between the airport and the Voyageur bus terminal. This new line will have

  • Intermediate stops at Metro Lionel-Groulx, Gare Centrale, Metro Berri-UQAM
  • Travel time of approx 30 minutes one way
  • $7 cash fare (you are actually buying a 1 day tourist pass) each way
  • Full 24/7 service with frequency every 20 minutes in rush hour and even every hour overnight – same as night bus service frequency
    • UPDATE 2010-08-20: The current service pattern has 77 trips per day each way approximately every 10 minutes during the day (still every hour during the night)

Comparison with the proposed airport rail link

At an average speed of 11 km/h for the service (without traffic) it will be interesting to see how this will demonstrate the need for the rail shuttle project.  Rail shuttles typically will be significantly more expensive (at least 15$) but will be much faster and reliable. Since the airport is only 16km from the city centre, you could expect a rail shuttle to only take about 10 minutes assuming no intermediate stops – at least 3x faster.
Continue reading

More News about Trams vs. Buses

Writing my previous post caused wordpress to amusingly automatically create a link to a pro-tram blog in Edinburgh (a very nice city that I have visited – I went to the Haymarket train depot of First Scotrail).

This link caused me to discover that similar discussions have been held in Edinburgh and West London precisely about this topic. They write about it far more elegantly than I ever could! The result – Trams are what are needed.
To be fair here is the other side of the discussion: Pro-Trolley bus

I have to say that the picture in the pro-trolley bus is more like a rubber-tired tram. These have been tried in a few French towns Clermont-Ferrand (home of Michlenin), Nancy (disaster of a project), and Caen with not very much success.  In fact these trams-on-wheels are no cheaper than a real tram.

Nobody is saying that trams should be everywhere in the city. They are desperately needed on the routes such as Cote-des-neiges, Parc, Pie IX, Notre Dame, Cote-Vertu/Henri Bourassa where buses cannot provide a quality service even though there is (at peak times) a bus every five minutes.
The problem in many cities is the “metro or bust” phenomenon.  Metro’s are only needed on routes where really high capacity is needed.  Anything else is served by buses.  Pushing metro extensions and nothing else generally ensures that the project doesn’t happen because the projected ridership is simply not there to make the project viable.  In the mean time, car use and urban sprawl continue to rise.

What is needed is a medium capacity service (at medium cost). That is where the tram comes in!

Trolley Buses aren’t the solution to Montreal’s transit needs

There has been lots of talk about using trolley buses instead of trams for Montreal’s plan de transport.  I’m not one of them.   Trolley buses have fewer advantages than people expect. On a one-to-one replacement basis, they are just buses that don’t emit CO2.

Being simply buses that run on electricity, they have the same disadvantages as diesel buses.

Trolleys buses are no faster than regular diesel buses. Therefore will be no more likely to convince people to change their travel habits.

Trolley buses require two contact wires above the bus resulting in complicated and ugly wiring. Trams, since they use a pantograph with current return in the rails, only need a single wire resulting in a much more harmonious integration with the city.

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, regular diesel buses have considerable advantages over cars already. For an urban environment these are the estimated energy consumption and emissions:

Transport Type



Car (single occupant)



Diesel Bus (full)



Diesel-Electric Hybrid Bus (full):



Electric Bus(full)



Tram (full)



Hydro Quebec and STM

From a greenhouse gas reduction point of view, we need to get people out of their cars. Simply replacing diesel buses with electric (or even hybrid) ones will do very little to convince people to leave their cars at home.

As shown in the table above, Trams also use roughly half as much energy as a bus of any type. Last year, the STM spent 40 million dollars in fuel but only 23 million in electricity for the metro.

Labour costs are a very considerable factor in the operating costs of the STM. According to their 2009 budget, salaries account for 63.7% of the operating costs. Trams are one way of improving the passenger to driver ratio and reducing labour costs since they can transport more people and can even be coupled together to form a double length train but still operated by just one person. Of course, I would want to see those drivers assigned to other routes to improve the overall level of service.

Trams are matched only by metros in the speed in which people can get on and off:

  • A 30m tram will typically have 6 wide doors for entry/exit.
  • Regular Buses have 1 exit and 1 entrance/exit
  • The articulated Buses have 2 exits and 1 entrance/exit

This is another of the reasons why Trams can travel faster – they spend less time stopped picking up passengers.

Trams are definitely the way to go. Lets stop talking about it and just do it!

STM gives an early Christmas present to Families

Note: No, I haven’t disappeared or died.  I’ve been busy working on this.

Starting on December 6th, up to 5 children will be able to travel for free on the STM network during weekends and holidays if they are accompanied by an adult.

This type of program was requested several months ago by a municipal politician (sorry can’t find a reference) and it seems that it worked.

I will definitely take advantage of this program as I like to bring my children downtown on the weekend.   But when I travel with my wife we often take the car because it is cheaper.

My situation:

2 parents (1 with a CAM) + 1 child (7 years old) + 1 child (4 years old)

  • Round trip cost before: 6.16 $
  • Round trip cost now: 4 $

With just me (with a CAM) & my children

  • Round trip cost before: 2.16 $
  • Round trip cost now: FREE

I’m sure lots of other parents will come to the same conclusion!

Here are the announcements:

STM (French)
STM (English)
Le Devoir

New and Improved Highway Notre-Dame?

The MTQ has announced improvements to their Notre-Dame Highway plan which are just a grab-bag of things that will happen anyway or things that don’t cost much to do.  The fundamental existence of the highway is not questioned at all.

To me, it further demonstrates how cynical the MTQ is in selling this project to the population.

Here is the list of improvements in all their glory with my thoughts about each one:

Extra High Occupancy Lane in each direction

  • Now there will be a dedicated taxi/HOV lane in addition to the dedicated bus lane in each direction
  • The HOV lane will only require 2 people per car to qualify – Nothing special here. Many cities require 3 occupants.
  • How many of the cars travelling on the highway would have had 2 occupants anyway?  The Montreal Board of Trade in their December 2004 report used the rate of 1.26 occupants/car. 
  • This means that 25% of the cars will have 33% percent of the lanes the day after the highway opens – not much to brag since people are already car pooling even without the incentive. 
  • This will improve travel time for a car-pooler in the short term – until drivers re-adjust.

The Notre-Dame Highway will be integrated with the Pie-IX bus corridor Project

  • The MTQ is now taking credit for the STM/AMT Pie-IX SRB project!!
  • Even if Notre-Dame Highway doesn’t happen, the SRB would still use Notre-Dame to get to the city centre. 
  • This is really stretching the truth to imagine that the SRB is even related to the highway.

Pilot Project for Photo radar on Notre-Dame

  • This has nothing to do with the highway at all!
  • This will only be a mobile installation that can easily be moved to another location.

Traffic Calming Measures in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

  • Here the City is repeating its commitment to spend 150M$ to calm the traffic on the neighboring streets.
  • This is not new money – just a re-announcement of old money.

Improvements in frequency for the 22, 34, and 150 bus lines.

  • There is no reason to get excited about this since it has nothing to do with the highway either!  The last STM meeting also announced improvements to the 515, 470, 194, 268, and 220. 
  • Are these also because the MTQ increased funding for the STM?  Who’s to say that the funding might disappear in the future once the project has started?  
  • The STM will increase service where it is needed and decrease service where it is not.  If the 22, 34 and 150 need extra buses it is because the ridership is calling for it.

Larger Parks

  • The concrete slab over the highway will be slightly bigger than before to improve access to Bellerive and Morgan/Champetre.
  • I live near the Decarie Highway and I can assure you that nobody will want to play in a park next to a 8 lane highway except undesirable elements.

A Steering Committee will be formed

  • Is there a project that costs 750$M that doesn’t have a steering committee?  This is approaching contortionism.

These announcements are nothing more than very minor cosmetic changes or completely unassociated announcements.   This project has to be stopped!


STM Hybrid Buses on the Road!

The STM hybrid buses operating out of the Lasalle garage have been seen around NDG for the past week or so and I got to ride on one of them this afternoon.

You can identify them by the big hybrid sticker on the side that looks like an electricity plug (no they are not plug-in hybrids though) and by the much bigger bump on the roof. According to the STM, there are 8 buses being used for a trial (bus numbers 28-701 to 28-708)

Here is the STM announcement.

As we were driving along, I asked the driver what they were like and he seemed to be pretty impressed by the performance.

  • 40% cut in fuel consumption (50L/100km compared to 80L of a typical bus).
  • Very quiet operation.  Up to about 30km/h the bus is entirely electric.
  • The transmission blends the two power sources depending on the speed and acceleration required
  • Regenerative braking recharges the batteries when slowing down (trains can have this feature too)
  • The ride seemed very smooth and I could barely hear the diesel engine cutting in when it reached 30km/h (I was in the front however).
  • A great benefit for pedestrians nearby: No great cloud of diesel fumes when the bus leaves the stop!

The technical details can be found here.

I hope the STM buys more!

Cote Vertu bus terminal

Is it just me or does anyone else think that the new arrangement of the bus terminal at Cote Vertu is very poorly organized?

Cote Vertu Bus Terminal

 Of the 7 doors available most of the passengers going to/from the buses and the metro use only 1.

It seems to me that most terminating buses use the two “descente seulement” stops on Gothier.  Passengers then walk beside Blvd Cote Vertu to get into the station.  Only a few buses stop at the stop next to the double doors in the new section of the station that was built for the bus terminal.

What gives?