A royal route for the bus

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mainly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban chronicle.

Users surprised to move so briskly and drivers happy with their central reserved lanes enlivened the first morning of this new fast service.

I went to try the new line 439 which goes from boulevard Saint-Martin in Laval to the Pie-IX station and… it goes fast!

Note the reddish color of the asphalt in the reserved lanes. These are also separated from the rest of the road by solid double lines.

“At 7 a.m., in the middle of traffic, our lanes were completely free,” enthuses Jonathan Pépin, driving the 439 bus in which I boarded.

A driver for 21 years, Mr. Pépin volunteered to try out the new line.

“There are no obstacles, no parked cars, no traffic! »

Many people waited on the side of the road, at the stops they knew, without seeming to understand that the fast service was rather offered in the middle of the public road. Small problem of communication with the customers?

Brand new

The brand new bus shelters look great and have electronic boards that indicate the next passages in real time.

Electronic boards indicate in real time the passage of the next buses on line 439.

Photo Louis-Philippe Messier

Electronic boards indicate in real time the passage of the next buses on line 439.

Their three openings correspond exactly to the three doors of the buses where you can validate your ticket.

Don’t miss your stop along the way. These are so far apart that you will have to walk a lot to get back to the previous one.

In twenty-five minutes, I went from the Olympic Stadium to the Pie-IX station, near the Rivière des Prairies.

» It’s quick ! exclaims a woman who goes to Montreal North from Saint-Michel.

« I go to Sami Fruits on rue Jarry and it’s nice to go so fast, » Habib tells me, who left from a stop near rue de Charleroi.

“It’s this kind of service that makes you want to take the bus! »

A “ventibus”

After the compliments, here are the reviews:

Due to major work on Jean-Talon and Bélanger streets to connect the bus shelters to the future extension of the blue line, the buses must take a horseshoe detour.

The bus shelter at the corner of Rosemont and Pie-IX is more of a « ventibus » because of a large building that beat down the furious wind there. This rushes directly into the aedicula and transforms it into a formidable human dryer. Will it be ridiculously windy in the winter as well? We hope not.

The section of Pie-IX south of Pierre-De Coubertin seemed poorly served during my visit: 16 minutes of waiting before the next crossings at the corner of Sainte-Catherine. It was faster to walk the mile and a half to the subway station.

Many users cross the boulevard to the central bus shelters without waiting for the pedestrian light so as not to miss the express bus. Sooner or later, this may cause an accident.

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