You've heard of sightings, stories, and even seen pictures, but is it real? No, I'm not talking about ghosts or yetis or sasquatches (which we all know exist, anyway), I'm referring to the new AZUR trains on the STM metro network, which have quickly become something of an urban legend in Montreal.
Why? Well, because after all the hype that came with the introduction of the new trains on the tracks last Sunday, few Montrealers have actually had the chance to ride the AZURs, leading some to question their existence. At least those referenced in this Gazette piece on the topic.
But no, this isn't an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the STM. It's just that there's only one AZUR on the Orange Line, and it's running times aren't all that ordinary.
The AZUR schedule for the next few weeks looks something like this:
- Monday to Friday: 9:30am-3:30pm
- Saturday & Sunday: 9:30am-3:30pm
As you can see, the AZUR schedule doesn't really change from weekday to weekend. The trains will always be running on the Orange Line between 9:30am and 3:30pm.
And if all goes smoothly (so no stops in service), the STM plans to add in a nighttime service for the AZUR trains after the first three weeks. The nighttime schedule will run from 7pm and onwards, every day of the week.
You'll notice that the running times are not during rush hour periods, a decision made by the STM. And it makes sense, because you wouldn't want new, and arguably untested (in contrast to the existing models) metro trains on the tracks when service is the busiest.
Should the tests go on without a hitch, the last three weeks of the AZUR testing there will be another updated schedule. Essentially, the AZUR will operate on a MR-73 schedule, meaning it'll be in operation during rush hour periods in the morning and night, along with the rest of the day and evening.
But just because you're on the Orange Line during the current designated timeframe doesn't necessarily guarantee you a trip on the AZUR. There's only one train, and even the speedier AZUR need around 45 minutes to make it through the entirety of Montmorency/Côte-Vertu directions on the Orange Line.
Given the time it takes the AZUR to travel the Orange Line, the train will only head into a station eight times in one day. Four if you're only counting one direction. (And no, not the boy band that will forever be worthless without Zayn)
So until more AZURs make it onto the Orange Line (another is scheduled to hit the tracks come April) only luck will decide whether you actually catch a ride on one. Or you could just be creepily dedicated and stay at a station 'til an AZUR whizzes by, because as long as you respect the schedule, it'll come eventually.