Frozen body parts courtesy of the STM

The warm fuzzy feeling that I had on the weekend during the snow storm as it was coming down is now effectively gone. Two days of struggling with Montreal’s public transportation has been enough to wipe out any seasonal cheer that I may have had. It is absolutely ridiculous for the city to encourage people to take public transport in the aftermath of the storm when there are clearly problems meeting the demand. It was freaking cold today as I waited 45 minutes for a bus this morning. I saw more “Désolé Hors Service” buses go by than actual buses for my route. When one did come by, it was too packed to stop. I finally managed to board a bus by going in the back door. I still had to walk a few blocks to work after that and I could hardly feel my feet they were so frozen stiff. Only the heat from the anger inside me kept me going. And things only got worse. Tonight, I waited for the bus to come home and I did not even see a single one pass in the space of 45 minutes. I was so absolutely frigid that I gave in and hailed a taxi. I am so fed up with the bus situation and I know my sentiments are shared by many of the people who were also waiting in the extremely long lines at every bus stop I passed while thawing in the cab. Something is just not right when people have to wait so long.

12 Comments so far

  1. RS (unregistered) on December 18th, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

    Yeah, it was out of control today…even ambulances were stuck with lights flashing and traffic was crawling on every street. I don’t know why it was so much worse than the last storm.

  2. Justin (unregistered) on December 19th, 2007 @ 9:38 am

    It’s amazing isn’t it? The city tells us all to take public transit and the buses are packed to the gills and so is the metro. This is a good test for public transit. A test they are failing. Imagine if everyone decided to not drive into work? This is what you’d get.

    I gave up on buses and metros. I’ve been riding my bike in. Not easy, but better then the alternative. But for those who can’t ride in, I sympathize.

  3. Cyril (unregistered) on December 19th, 2007 @ 10:04 am

    The worst part is that it doesn’t even surprise anyone anymore. Everybody knows the STM sucks.
    Oh, maybe the worst part is the way they manage their finances… “Give us more, we’ll do even less” should be their catch-phrase.

  4. Patel (unregistered) on December 19th, 2007 @ 11:48 am

    I know there was a gas leak downtown, but for me taking the 535 bus north on Cote-Des-Neige was hell!! Bumper to bumper traffic from Montreal General Hospital, all the way down Cote-Des-Neige. People started to get frustrated and got off the bus and walked to their destination. Finally at the cemetary, i also decided to walk it home all the way till Jean Talon. Total time to get home 2.5 hours, instead of half an hour like usual. Traffic was everywhere. Now STM is talking about a strike, WTF!!!!

  5. Lisa T. (unregistered) on December 19th, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    When we first got snow, my bus routes became unreliable and so packed that I can’t get on. My buses come only once per 30 minutes, so that is a problem. Now they are pretty much not running at all. How fun is it to start every work day with a 2km trudge through the snow and slush??? I am as anti-car as they get, but WHAT kind of encouragement to take public transport is this???

  6. Chris Lamothe (unregistered) on December 19th, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

    I take the 535 and the service has been deplorable since the first snow, and gradually gotten worse. At this point I walk AWAY from my stop on Villeneuve all the way to Laurier, just so I can get on ahead of the 40 people waiting at my stop and the one at St-Joseph. Even then I still have to wait at least three buses before one arrives with enough space to squeeze on, usually from the back door. Wait times have also increased dramatically. If the buses are filling up in the first quarter of the route, why don’t they put more buses right starting at that point or a bit further down.

    Coming back is even worse. I waited almost 40 minutes the each of the past two nights for a bus, which of course was packed once it arrived. On Monday the driver said there were supposed to be six buses ahead of his but he was the first one. He said he had a customer spit on his face. It’s certainly not the bus drivers fault.

    I’d gladly pay double the current bus pass if it meant that there was always a place on the next bus to show up (even if it meant standing) and that the buses came at proper intervals.

  7. carmen (unregistered) on December 20th, 2007 @ 10:48 am

    I am confused by this posting and a lot of the comments – how far could you have walked in the 45 minutes you stood waiting for a bus? Would you have arrived at your destination? I live in Mile End and it’s a 45 minute leisurely walk downtown — though it has been taking me an hour with all the snow on the ground – but a fun hour!

    And for Chris to walk ALL THE WAY from Villeneuve to Laurier? Are you being funny? It’s not really a long haul. If you REALLY need a seat on the bus (understandable that you’d rather stare at crotches than be blasted by someone else’s foul morning breath) try hiking up to Bernard or GASP! Van Horne. But then it would just make more sense to walk downtown.

  8. Laiya (unregistered) on December 20th, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

    I am all for walking if you *planned* on walking. But by the time you’ve stood still for about 20 minutes, you become too cold to walk. When I leave the house, I dress relatively warmly in the anticipation of waiting 15 minutes tops for a bus to come by. Once you start waiting for a while, you don’t want to leave and start walking and lose your place in line because you start to think, ok, it will come in the next 2 minutes…or the next 2…or the next 2…and pretty soon, 45 minutes has elapsed and you find yourself freezing.

  9. allan (unregistered) on December 20th, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

    I too was stuck out taking the bus last night. 3 hours for a 1/2 hour journey. I think that bus drivers see snow and see an excuse for doing nothing. I saw WAY TOO MANY hors service buses to be justified. Poor organization and no will by the STM. Its Canada what were they expecting 30 degree weather and no snow????

  10. Marla Comm (unregistered) on December 20th, 2007 @ 8:59 pm

    I live just a couple of blocks away from work and walk there and back, but heard nothing but complaints from people who depend on our transit system. Their tales of woe along with the complaints I read on this blog come as no surprise because this city is one mega-mess that we have to admit is no longer functioning. Public transit is like all the other services here.

    During my short trip to work I saw several buses with those all-too-familiar “Désolé” signs in the front. In a city where everything is broken and stays that way, “Désolé” is one French word non-Francohones like me don’t need French lessons to learn.

    -Marla Comm

  11. RS (unregistered) on December 21st, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

    To Carmen: Don’t forget that it’s not just the able-bodied who live in our neighborhood. That 45 min walk in the cold for you is fine but maybe not for the scores of older people in our city who also rely on public transport even for short distances. Also I got a good talking to by my girlfriend for suggesting the same thing to her. I didn’t realize how bad her boots were in the cold nor did I realize she had a toenail issue. Lesson learned! Oh and that walk is going to really suck after the rain on Sunday…

  12. Atticus (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

    Tell me about it!!! Had to finally walk from Concordia to Bonaventure yesterday… I should have taken the Metro instead of hoping for a cab :(

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