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The STM's New "Digital Bus Shelters" Will Make Your Life So Much Better This Winter

If you're a regular bus-taker in Montreal, you've no doubt noticed the STM's new information terminals. 

Providing real-time dataon bus schedules, the terminals add a legitimate layer of convenience to STM passengers. Instead of just blindly waiting on a bus, you can see when it's going to arrive and plan accordingly. 

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But do these bus terminals actually work?

Metro decided to find out,  testing out three bus terminals and ten bus lines. 

You can read the full report here and find some of the most important bits of information below. 

The Basic Breakdown

The STM’s bus network has a fleet of 1771 buses. All of them are now linked up to a central GPS control centre which tracks where each bus is and how fast it’s travelling. This information is then sent to the 90 bus terminals equipped with real-time tracking.

The Terminals Are Pretty Accurate

Metro’s analysis of the STM’s info-terminals had fairly positive results. Buses heading from Sherbrooke station, the 24 line, all left on time, or a bit earlier than expected. Other bus-times tracked were also shown to be pretty accurate.

Still, It Isn’t Perfect

Overall, Metro’s findings proved the STM’s bus-tracking system is pretty solid, but it’s not exactly perfect. When tracking buses at Plamandon station, only one-out-of-three arrived on time. The others arrived 3 to 5 minutes later than expected, which isn’t all that bad.

You’ll Still Wait A Minute

As said, the info-terminals are fairly accurate, but even when the bus is on time you may have to wait a minute. A one-minute delay is fairly common, which is actually purposeful. A spokesperson for the STM said the one-minute lag gives bus drivers time to leave at the indicated time.

The Terminals Tell You When There’s Traffic

Waiting for a delayed bus is frustrating, but at least now you’ll know why your ride to work is taking so long. The terminal displays can tell you what the roads are like, with a “congestion” added to let you know a bus is late because of heavy traffic.

You Won’t Know About Buses That Aren’t Going To Come

One of the major problems the bus-tracking system is dealing with, something the STM openly admitted to, is buses that are abruptly ending their service. There’s still a disconnect in the system. Customers may be waiting on a bus that is supposed to arrive in 2 minutes, unaware that the driver is ending their route, so they need to wait for the next one to come with no information provided.

You’ll Be Able To See Times Online

According to the STM, the next step for the real-time bus tracking network is to post the information online. A beta version of the online system is already being test by STM employees.

And On Your Phone

Once the kinks are sorted out of the online system, a mobile app produced by the STM will allow you to check bus-times in real time. The STM says customers will be able to test the mobile tracker in the coming weeks.

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