A new way to avoid the orange line!
After over a decade of planning and construction, the Pie-IX bus rapid transit route (BRT, or SRB in French) will finally begin operation on Monday, November 7. The 11-kilometre line crosses the whole width of Montreal Island from east to west, from Mercier–Hochelaga Maisonneuve to Montréal-Nord, and pokes into eastern Laval.
The BRT consists of dedicated centre-running bus lanes and large enclosed bus shelters. It gives Lavallois.es and East-End Montrealers a new way to (hopefully) quickly connect with other transit along an east-west axis without relying on the crowded eastern arm of the orange metro line.
Here's what you need to know.
Where does Montreal's Pie-IX BRT go?
Eventually, the line will total 20 stops between avenue Pierre-De-Coubertin in Montreal and boulevard Saint-Martin in Laval. It will cross paths with the green metro line at Pie-IX station and have a direct underground connection with the blue line at a future metro station on rue Jean-Talon. The BRT will also link up with the exo5 commuter train to Mascouche at Saint-Michel–Montréal-Nord station.
The route will serve STM, STL and exo bus lines with painted lanes completely dedicated to transit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Buses in BRT lanes will also get preferential traffic signals. The STM is specifically promoting the 439 Express bus, which will come more frequently starting November 7.
What do the Pie-IX BRT shelters look like?
Pie-IX BRT bus shelter.
Officials are promising comfort and safety. The accessible shelters are shielded from the elements on three sides and feature real-time bus info and arrival predictions.
34 shelters will eventually include public artwork, the first on any Montreal or Laval bus stops according to the STM, by artist Jean-Sébastien Denis. The installations, titled Kyrielle, take the form of colourful geometric shapes on placards above shelters. They're meant to "evoke both the sinuosities of a road and the incessant movement that characterizes the comings and goings of public transit," Denis says.
Pedestrians will have a better experience along the whole route. Boulevard Pie-IX now has widened sidewalks and crosswalks, and only two, narrowed lanes of regular traffic in each direction. Platforms around the shelters are separated from the street by railings and concrete walls.
Is construction of the Pie-IX BRT really over?
Construction on rue Jean-Talon near boulevard Pie-IX in Montreal.
Nope. Three sections won't be done by the time of the opening.
The part around rue Jean-Talon won't have shelters just yet, as crews are still working on the underground pedestrian tunnel that'll connect the BRT to a future station on the blue line extension.
Shelters at avenue Pierre-De-Coubertin at the eastern extremity of the BRT also won't be up until 2023. This is to make way for work on Pie-IX metro station
The Pie-IX Bridge, which will carry the BRT between Montreal and Laval over the Rivière-des-Prairies, will also be under construction, and therefore unable to host dedicated bus lanes, until the fall of 2023.
Also in the works is a possible 1.7-kilometre extension of the BRT in Montreal from avenue Pierre-De-Coubertin to rue Notre-Dame. However, that project is still in the planning stage.