The STM Is Turning To AI To Tell You Where The Hell Your Bus Went

Because it's clearly beyond mortal understanding.

Senior Editor
People line up to board an STM bus.

People line up to board an STM bus.

Instead of offering a blood sacrifice to the gods for a miraculous sign pointing you to the location of your missing bus, you can now turn to a robot — kind of. The STM has launched a new AI-powered tool to map bus detours and temporary stops.

The tool works by tracking real-time bus locations using STM data and the Transit app. According to the STM, the tool updates route maps when it detects that three buses in a row on a given line have detoured. It can also pinpoint the location of temporary stops by tracking bus speeds.

STM customers can then view updated route maps on the STM website and on Transit. Solid blue lines represent regular bus routes. Dotted blue lines represent detours. And red lines represent unserved sections.

So far, only a beta version of the new feature is live. The STM says it will collect customer feedback before considering an official integration into its wayfinding tools.

The rollout, the product of $200,000 of Quebec government funding, comes after the STM announced plans to cut back bus service and as it struggles to adapt to post-pandemic commuting patterns. Even after additional cuts to its internal operations, it's still facing a deficit of $60 million.

In statements shared in a press release, STM CEO Marie-Claude Léonard and Transit CEO Sam Vermette trumpeted the new AI-powered tool as a way to improve the rider experience.

"Detours have long been a major annoyance for our users," Vermette said. "This is a significant step forward for all Montréal public transit users, and we cannot wait to start working with our other partner transit agencies to integrate this technology into their networks as well."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas is MTL Blog's Senior Editor. He lives in Saint-Henri and loves it so much that he named his cat after it. On weekdays, he's publishing stories, editing and helping to manage MTL Blog's team of amazing writers. His beats include the STM, provincial and municipal politics and Céline Dion. On weekends, you might run into him brunching at Greenspot, walking along the Lachine Canal or walking Henri the cat in Parc Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier.
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