MONTREAL – A new transit service rolling into Montreal is getting mixed reviews.
Two new, reserved bus lanes have opened on Sherbrooke Street in NDG between Girouard and Elmhurst Avenues.
The lanes are on the two sides of the three-kilometre stretch of road with a ‘no stopping’ ban in effect during morning and afternoon rush hours.
Drivers are prohibited from driving or stopping their cars in the lane between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. on the south side of Sherbrooke in the eastbound direction.
In addition, motorists can’t drive or stop their vehicles in the reserved lane on the north side of Sherbrooke in the westbound direction between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.
“That’s a very big achievement for us to be able to do that kind of six-kilometres priority is very important of us,” Philippe Schnobb, the CEO of the STM said Thursday morning.
The lane is officially set to launch on Monday, but already, the no stopping and no driving signs are up, and the paint marking the reserved lanes has been applied.
“I think it’s very, very clear that these reserved bus lanes are in the long-term public interest,” said Russell Copeman, the mayor of Côte-des-Neiges/NDG borough.
The lanes are expected to prevent the buses from constantly getting stuck in vehicle traffic during rush hour and increase travel time for passengers by 10 per cent.
However, some nearby residents say more needs to be done to improve mass transit along the three-kilometre stretch.
“It’s not enough to get more people onto the bus, no,” said Karen Urtnowski, a NDG resident.
She argues the STM needs to put more buses, especially Number 105, on the road to increase capacity and avoid overcrowding.
And some merchants on the street say, while the idea is good, they fear the reserved lanes will cut into their business.
“I’m a little bit concerned,” Michael Kutchuk said from inside his dry cleaning company, Royal Nettoyeur Ecologique.
The small business owner says he will have to convince his customers to change their habits.
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