Montreal's transportation company is planning to double the number of reserved bus lanes on the streets of the city in the next seven years.

The STM says this is part of its plan to improve service and get more drivers using public transit.

Right now there are 190 km of bus lanes along 29 different routes. The STM's Strategic Plan for 2020 promises 370 km of reserved bus lanes along 56 different routes, and hopes this will boost ridership to 700,000 people per day.

The agency is also expanding the use of advance lights that give bus drivers an edge in heavy traffic.

Michel Labrecque says roads are already clogged, but says reserved lanes are the easiest way to get more people moving.

"When you've got a boulevard that is already congested and you add a bus lane you add more congestion but overall you've got a gain. You've got a gain for the bus rider, you've got a gain for the driver who decides to take the bus," said Labrecque.

One of the new bus lanes that could be viewed as a test for the workability of the plan is set for launch in November on Sherbrooke W. between Decarie and Elmhurst. The lane, which was approved in August, will run eastbound in the morning and westbound in the afternoon.

"Revolutionary" i-bus system

Labrecque also discussed an upcoming high-tech bus system called i-bus which he said will “revolutionize the bus system in Montreal by the end of 2015.”

Those with cell phones will be able to receive customized messages concerning the state and time of the bus they wish to take.

“The computer will even call you in the morning,” said Michel Labrecque. The message will contain such details as the time the bus will arrive, how many seats are currently available and the time it should arrive at your planned destination.