It's always been something of a wonder to me why bus stops in Montreal are almost always before a stop light, on the near right-side of an intersection.

Yes, the stop light does ensure riders can board at a relaxed pace, but only if the light is red. Otherwise, if the light is green-for-go, having riders board before the intersection eats up time.

You've no doubt been running late, saw the light turn green as your bus pulls into the stop, and pray to the gods of public transit that everyone getting on board will do it quickly enough that the stoplight doesn't turn red. But they don't, and you're left waiting, with the stress of your tardiness racking up even higher.

The solution to this minor but oh-so-impactful problem has been posed by McGill School of Urban Planning Ahmed El-Geneidy, and it's pretty simple: just put Montreal bus stops passed the traffic light, on the far side of the intersection.

As El-Geneidy related to CTV News, the small change could save everyone up to five seconds every single stop. When you factor in the fact that a Montreal bus route has about 40 stops, the seconds turn into many minutes.

Multiply that across the island of Montreal, and the simple switch of moving the bus stop forward equates to a lot of time saved.

The installation of priority bus lights would also aid bus routes (and passengers) in getting around faster.

El-Geneidy also notes how this switch would make it easier for drivers as well, as the bus would no longer be blocking cars from taking a right turn.

But the STM doesn't share El-Geneidy's view. Despite the potential time saved in moving bus stops past intersections, the STM believes it is safer for passengers boarding to have stops remain where they are.

Except in practice, El-Geneidy's concept works. Take bus route 55-south, for example, specifically at the intersection of St. Urbain and Rachel. This is the only stop (to my knowledge) situated pasted the lights at the intersection, and it runs so smoothly.

No one needs to wait for the traffic light and it's not as if the bus stop is a particular safety hazard to STM riders. If it was, the bus stop would have been moved back ages ago.

So while the STM may not be on board with this relatively minor shift in bus route operations, it can potentially streamline the city's public transit network. Maybe one day, because we can dream, after all.

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