The metro can be either one of two things: a God-sent gift (especially when you are car-less in the city), or a trip made in hell. There's no doubt that most of the time people are pretty upset with Montreal's STM. Just this morning as I was trying to catch the metro to work, all of the commuters were forced into rows of 10 (yes, just like when you were in third grade) and told to wait for the following train to arrive before boarding. Seriously, the commute could not be anymore stessful!
If you take a look at our neighbour city, Laval, you'll notice that their transit is seemingly less frustrating. Of course, they aren't as populated and central as Montreal, but there is a thing or two the STM could really learn from them to make a Montrealer's commute a whole lot easier. Here's a few things you probably wish our city had that Laval already does:
1. During the Summer, STL offers $1 bus fare for any day Environment Canada issues a smog warning
Seriously! With the amount of misty and foggy days Montreal gets, you'd totally be getting an amazing deal.
2. The STL is already starting to fund driverless, electrically-powered buses
Laval has been given over $30M for the project that would make commuting so much more efficient. This would definitely be useful for when you get those STM bus drivers that just have no clue what they're doing. Laval is definitely ahead of it's time.
3. STL's creation of the "techno transit centre"
This serves as the location for new transit technologies in hopes to improve Laval's transit system and make it more technologically advanced. Montreal... what are you doing?!
4. Laval is the first place in the country to allow commuters to pay bus fare with their credit card
We've all been there: you get on the bus and realize you left your OPUS card at home, you don't have any change on you making the encounter not only annoying but a bit awkward. How simple would it be if we could just whip out our credit card in those situations!
5. Laval just launch an electric bike rental service
Okay, a little bit like Montreal's BIXI, but better. No, these aren't just regular bikes. This pilot project is the only place in Quebec that is offering bike sharing for electrice bicycles. Cyclists pedal to activate a motor, which is hands down going to get you a lot farther than your traditional bike.
Overall, it's obvious the STL is quite ahead of STM. Montrealers can only hope our city will take some inspiration from Laval sometime soon. We definitely need it!