That sinking feeling of missing a bus and enduring a seemingly endless wait is all too familiar. But Montreal’s STM is looking to remedy that frustration with more frequent bus lines.
New routes will operate with a predictability more associated with the metro than buses. The wait between buses on frequent lines will last between two and 12 minutes. For the average commuter, that means a shift away from strict travel plans and toward a more flexible approach.
“Just like on the metro, you won’t need to plan your trip down to the minute on these frequent lines. All you have to do is turn up around the corner, knowing that the next crossing will be in the next few minutes,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante commented on the initiative.
A map of the new frequent lines in Montreal.Courtesy of the STM.
Turn up, take off
More than half of bus travel in greater Montreal is now on frequent lines and scheduled on the city’s busiest routes, according to the STM. The faster service comes in two categories:
- All Day Frequent Lines: These cover nine primary routes, ensuring that the pulse of the city remains uninterrupted from dawn until dusk. they encompass routes like Beaubien, Sherbrooke, and Saint-Michel, catering to the heavy traffic along the city’s busiest corridors.
- Peak Period Frequent Lines: A more extensive network of 22 routes, these buses cater specifically to the rush hours of the morning and evening, ensuring that Montreal’s workforce and students get to their destinations timely. They cover vital routes like Lacordaire, Papineau, and Avenue-du-Parc.
The STM’s frequent lines.Courtesy of the STM.
On weekdays, the all-day frequent “24 Sherbrooke” line, connecting metro stations from Guy-Concordia to Villa-Maria, promises a bus almost every few minutes between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Those who depend on peak-hour transit can rely on lines like “45 Papineau”, minimizing wait times during the city’s most traffic-heavy hours.
For those travelling between métro stations Beaubien and Honoré-Beaugrand, the all-day frequent line “18 Beaubien” is your go-to. For peak-hour commuters, the “32 Lacordaire” between Cadillac metro station is available.
Purple is the colour of convenience
The branding for these lines is purple, making them easily identifiable for commuters. Whether you’re looking through the STM website, glancing at mobile transit apps, or looking at bus signs, the shade is hard to miss.
A full purple panel means an all-day frequent line, while a white sign framed in purple indicates a peak hour line.
The full purple panel on a bus sign shows all-day frequency. Right: A purple outline means peak-time only frequency.Courtesy of the STM.
Not just buses
The STM hasn’t just focussed on frequency. The lines are connected to the Montreal metro, REM, and train networks, ensuring that switching from one mode of transport to another is seamless. With reserved lanes to maintain regularity and speed, the buses on frequent lines dodge the city’s infamous traffic bottlenecks, getting commuters to their destinations faster.
For those who are still navigating the new system, the STM has digital tools to help. Real-time updates on bus networks, route calculators, and timely notifications about any disruptions are available at the fingertips via various mobile applications and the STM website. For those who prefer the good old-fashioned way, bus schedules are just a text message away.
With all new initiatives, there’s still a degree of uncertainty. The success of the frequent lines will likely hinge on their ability to deliver on their promises. Time will tell if the purple promise will deliver consistent reliability. For now, Montrealers have a fresh transit option to explore.
Here’s the breakdown of the STM’s new frequent lines and where they operate:
Frequent All-Day Lines
The routes primarily cover the city’s busiest roads, offering service frequency that ranges from two to 12 minutes between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, in both directions.
Lines and stops include:
- 18 Beaubien: West | Metro Beaubien and Honoré-Beaugrand
- 24 Sherbrooke: West | Metro Guy-Concordia, McGill, Peel, Place-des-Arts, Sherbrooke, and Villa-Maria
- 51 Édouard-Montpetit: West | Metro Édouard-Montpetit, Laurier, Snowdon, and University of Montreal
- 67 Saint-Michel: North/South | Metro Joliette and Saint-Michel
- 105 Sherbrooke: West | Metro Vendôme, Train station Montreal-West
- 121 Sauvé/Côte-Vertu: East/West | Metro Côte-Vertu and Saved, Train station Saved
- 141 Jean-Talon: East/West | Metro Honoré-Beaugrand and Saint-Michel
- 165 Côte-des-Neiges: North/South | Metro Côte-des-Neiges and Guy-Concordia
- 439 Express Pie-IX: North/South | Metro Pie-IX, Train station Saint-Michel-Montreal-North
Frequent Peak Hour Lines
These routes prioritize swift travel during the city’s peak hours. From Monday to Friday, commuters can expect buses as frequently as every two to 12 minutes during the busiest directional flows, specifically in the mornings from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and in the evenings from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Lines and stops include:
- 32 Lacordaire: North/South | Metro Cadillac
- 33 Langelier: North/South | Metro Langelier
- 44 Armand-Bombardier: North/South | Metro Radisson
- 45 Papineau: North/South | Metro Fabre and Papineau
- 48 Perras: East/West | Metro Henri-Bourassa
- 49 Maurice-Duplessis: East/West | Metro Henri-Bourassa
- 55 Boulevard Saint-Laurent: North/South | Metro From Castelnau, Henri-Bourassa, Place-d’Armes, Place-des-Arts, and Saint-Laurent
- 64 Grenet: North/South | Metro Under rating
- 69 Gouin: East/West | Metro Henri-Bourassa
- 80 Avenue du Parc: North/South | Metro Park and Place-des-Arts
- 90 Saint-Jacques: East/West | Metro Atwater and Vendôme, Train station Vendôme
- 97 Avenue-du-Mont-Royal: East/West | Metro Mont-Royal and Pie-IX
- 103 Monkland: East/West | Metro Villa-Maria
- 136 Viau: North/South | Metro Viau
- 161 Van Horne: East/West | Metro Outremont, Plamondon, and Rosemont
- 171 Henri-Bourassa: East/West | Metro Côte-Vertu and Henri-Bourassa
- 187 René-Lévesque: East/West | Metro Honoré-Beaugrand
- 193 Jarry: East/West | Metro Jarry
- 196 Parc-Industriel-Lachine: North/South | Metro Under rating
- 197 Rosemont: East/West | Metro Langelier and Rosemont
- 406 Express Newman: East/West | Metro Angrignon
- 470 Express Pierrefonds: East/West | Metro Under rating