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STM to add new reserved bus lanes, hoping to attract more riders

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Montreal's public transit agency is implementing new measures to increase the reliability of its buses in the hopes of attracting more riders.

According to the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Montreal has the largest number of reserved bus lanes in the world, with about 350 kilometres of lanes in its network.

Still, it's looking to add 11 more kilometres, said STM spokesperson Isabelle Tremblay.

"We are trying to make our bus network more efficient every year," she said.

The STM is looking to add more reserved bus lanes in different areas, such as Papineau Street, Notre-Dame Street West, and Ray-Lawson Boulevard, this summer. These additional lanes can reduce travel times by 5 to 20 percent during rush hour, said Tremblay.

"We want to enhance the client experience in terms of respect of schedule, in terms of not being stuck in the traffic, if it is possible," she said.

Public transit advocacy group Trajectoire Quebec has been advocating for more reserved bus lanes for years

"At the same time, you improve services and you can save money because you will need [fewer] buses and bus drivers to give the same amount of services," said Trajectoire Quebec board member François Pepin.

It's also less expensive to implement, said Tremblay.

"Those measures are quite easy to put in place, and they do not cost a lot of money," she said.

Other measures, such as rapid bus lanes, cost more. The more than $300-million Pie-IX service line is still under construction.

Another line is scheduled to be built on Henri-Bourassa Boulevard by 2027.

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