Archive for the ‘bus’ Tag

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


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.
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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!

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?