Above watch: The new bus route #77 offers Montrealers an alternative method of transport to the new McGill University Health Centre, especially for those with reduced mobility. But as Tim Sargeant reports, it comes with a price tag.
MONTREAL — A new STM service has rolled into town and is designed to help public transit users with reduced mobility access the new McGill University Health Centre superhospital at the Glen site.
Bus 77 runs everyday between the Lionel-Groulx metro station and the front doors of the MUHC hospital.
Anyone can use the service bus, but it’s designed for people who need handicapped access.
Although the hospital and other healthcare facilities at the Glen site are right next to the Vendome metro station — there is no direct access linking the two.
Visitors are required to take a detour along Decarie Boulevard.
Two new tunnels are planned to open — one by next June but it won’t be accessible for people in wheel chairs.
The second tunnel will include elevators, but it’s still in the planning stages.
“Right now we know the funds are coming and I’m going to predict that it will open in 2019,” Marvin Rotrand, the vice-chair of Montreal’s transit body, the STM, told Global News.
Rotrand insisted he’s not worried about the lack of riders on the new 77 bus. He predicts its popularity will rise.
Operating costs are expected to be $580,000 per year.
“We’re not sure that the ridership will meet our minimal norm, where a bus route becomes viable on its own.”
MUHC officials said they are thrilled with the launch of the new bus service.
“We’re very pleased with this new service that allows our patients, visitors and employees with reduced mobility to be dropped off at the Glen site,” MUHC spokesperson Julie Paquet said.
It’s unclear whether the 77 bus will continue running after the two new tunnels are built; the STM officials plan to reassess the service at that time.