Montreal transit strike

11.17.03

If they’re so eager for us to give up our cars and rely on public transit, they’ve gotta stop going on strike:

About 2,000 workers are off the job in a legal strike, but weekday rush hour services are being provided on the city’s buses and subway system.

Under a plan approved by the province’s Essential Services Council last week, the transit system will operate on weekdays between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. There will be no service on weekends.

Some people were caught off guard and found themselves scrambling to get around after the system stopped Monday morning.

The assistant manager of one downtown music store says business is already down.

He also points out the impact of the strike will be worse on the weekends when there is no transit service at all.

The rush hour service is really only convenient for people who need to get around at specific hours. Even a bus that stops running at 6:30 will leave thousands of 9-to-5 people stranded; they will hop on the metro but will likely miss the last bus to take them home from there.

Public transit in this city is affordable and great… if you live in the downtown area, travel at peak hours only, and never have to deal with an odd schedule. For anyone else, it’s nothing but a pain. And even for the downtown folks, between strikes and breakdowns, it’s becoming less and less of an option.

You want to complain about cars? Fine. But get a reliable, realistic alternative in place. Then convince us to give them up. No sooner.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve Brandon 11.18.03 at 3:35 AM

The bus drivers aren’t on strike… right? That’s what I thought, but they certainly seem to be “working to rule”. During the hours when there was supposed to be “full service” 3-6:30 p.m., it’s a lie. At least on certain routes. Here’s my experience at Sainte Anne de Bellevue, waiting for either the 211 or the 221 Metrobus to take me to Lionel Groulx Metro.

The first 211 didn’t get there until about 3:40, dropped a few people off, and then… went “Hors Service”. This is after doing one single trip… in one direction only. The next bus to downtown which came along was a 221 Metrobus, it dropped a few people off, and just sat there… for 20 minutes. Then it came to pick people up, but, bear in mind that the Sainte Anne’s terminus is right in front of John Abbott College and the Macdonald Campus of McGill, so… there were just too many people cramming in for me to want to get on that one. The third bus was marked “SPECIAL” and arrived and just sat there, for even longer than the first one. After another half an hour, when nothing else coming from downtown arrived, it was approaching 5 p.m., so I just said “fuck it all” and walked away to the Sainte Anne’s train station to get the 5 p.m. train downtown. (Since my class at Concordia today started at 4:15 p.m., I obviously wasn’t going to make it there in time, but I needed to get some things from the library.) So, in short, at a stop where there normally would be at least two buses leaving for downtown every ten minutes or so during rush hour, during about the hour and a half I was waiting there, about three downtown buses appeared and one of them didn’t pick up any passengers.

I should note that the 200 line between Fairview shopping centre and Sainte Anne’s seemed to be operating fairly normally. But those of us that need to get from the “far west” to downtown… don’t bother with the buses at all. Take the train. But the problem there is that, after morning rush hour, the next train leaves Dorion at 11 a.m., followed by one at 2 p.m., and a third at 5 p.m., so that’s not too practical either. The Montreal-Dorion/Vaudreuil/Rigaud line should have one train in each direction every hour during the day like on the Deux Montagnes line.

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2 segacs 11.18.03 at 3:39 AM

Steve – what a pain! Try bumming a lift off of someone next time. Or see if you can grab the McGill shuttle from Mac to downtown. (It helps to be a McGill student for the latter option…)

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3 Steve Brandon 11.18.03 at 3:46 AM

Well, I don’t know anyone too close I can bum a ride off from Pincourt. But I do have the luxury of not having any classes which go past 8 p.m., so I can catch the 9:15 p.m. train, the last train west of the day on weekdays (another complaint of mine regarding the train service… the last AMT train west used to leave Windsor/Lucien L’Allier at 10:45 p.m. on weekdays, but 9:15 p.m. is just too early if you, say, want to catch even the early evening show at the movies, and some classes at Concordia go up to 10:30 p.m.).

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