I took the orange line between Bonaventure and Berri-UQAM stations during afternoon rush hour for the first time yesterday and....just wow.
Stampedes of people knocked over innocent bystanders, people packed into trains like sardines, passengers screamed at each other, and officers, in turn, screamed at screaming passengers. It was a mess.
Montreal needs solutions to its public transit problems, fast. With highways in a disarray of construction, the metro overpacked, and some neighourhoods underserviced, the city has long searched for more creative solutions.
Bixi, the public bike system that dots the city, was a great first start. In just a few years, the service has beome wildly popular and a staple of Montreal daily-life. But when officials promised that electric public bikes would soon make their debut, Montreal residents were incredulous.
But now that promise has become a reality. 40 electic bikes appeared in Laval yesterday. Outside Cartier, de la Concorde, and Montmorency stations, the bikes will quickly enter the consciousness of daily commuters. Maybe one day the bikes will make a dent in the public transit crisis in the Montreal area.
The bikes are currently part of a pilot program, but officials hope to soon make them readily available. Starting in August, the BIXI will be testing its own electric bike program in the city of Montreal. Montrealers will be able to ride forty electric bikes acros three BIXI stations.
The electric motors will give riders a little boost without polluting the environment. That's good news in a city which often suffers from high levels of smog in the downtown core.