Province puts emphasis on public transit to improve traffic flow
Published Thursday, August 25, 2011 9:39PM EDT
Quebec's transport minister offered his solution to traffic woes today: take the bus.
An improved public transportation plan is part of $100 million in spending to ease Montreal's major traffic problems announced by Sam Hamad Thursday.
"I hope that we are going to relieve congestion and we are going to reduce the impact of that. That's our goal," said Hamad.
The plan comes into effect Sept. 12 and calls for more buses, including on the busy 211 West Island route.
Metro service will also be increased, especially on the green and yellow lines. The Lionel Groulx station will also be refurbished to handle more traffic.
The plan includes some measures previously announced, such as including a proposal to open the ice bridge near the Champlain Bridge to bus and emergency vehicle traffic.
Meanwhile the government will do more to encourage commuters, especially on the South Shore, to leave their cars at home instead of driving over a bridge or through a tunnel.
It also suggested more buses, 40 kilometres of new reserved bus lanes across the region, and increasing parking spaces for drivers arriving at bus stops.
The government will install more electronic billboards to advise drivers about detours and congestion, as well as improving the quality of the information on the 511 information telephone line.
Extra money for public transit may be futile unless commuting via public transit gets faster.
Despite the renewed emphasis on public transportation, some commuters like Richard Primeau say they don't see the point in leaving their cars at home.
"I live in the Valleyfield area and the closest (option) is a train in Dorion. I've got to drive to Dorion anyway, so I may as well drive straight in," said Primeau. "It's going to save me a half an hour of transportation if I drive in by myself."
A recent study by Statistics Canada shows 82 per cent of commuters drive to work in part because public transit is slower than travelling by car.
The 2010 analysis shows 12 per cent of Montrealers commute via public transit, while 6 per cent bicycled or walked to work.
The average commuting time for Montrealers has decreased since 2005, when people spent on average 38 minutes coming home from work. In 2010, they spent 31 minutes.
The average total daily commute for Canadians going to and from work by car is 27 minutes, while it's 44 minutes for those using public transit.