Construction still slowing down shuttle commutes
The shuttle bus is one of those things that is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it cuts the time it takes to get to Loyola in half and it’s really convenient to be able to go directly from one campus to the other. But it’s a curse because we live in Montreal, the nation’s capital of traffic congestion.
Overcrowdedness is one of the several reasons why students aren’t completely happy with the shuttle bus system. It’s not that they aren’t used to overcrowding, like what happens on the metro routinely. The difference is that once the shuttle doors close, you’re stuck on that bus until you get to Loyola, for however long it takes, with however many people they can squeeze in.
“It’s either 15 minutes early, or 30 minutes late,” said Youmna el Halabi, a Concordia student and frequent shuttle bus user. “When it’s late, it tries to fit as many people as it can so that we don’t miss our class, but then it ends up feeling like a pickle jar.”
Another reason for traffic congestion is frequent delays; there’s not much blame that can really go to the buses—the problem is beyond Concordia’s shuttle service. It’s the never ending, year-round road obstructions either due to construction sites, highway lane closures or foundation repairs to the infamous Turcot Interchange.
On Nov. 9, 2018, the dismantling of a portion of the Highway 15 ramp in the Interchange began which, according to Transport Quebec as reported in CTV Montreal, would cause an unprecedented amount of traffic for Montrealers. Transport Quebec went so far as to even advise drivers to use public transit if they could, to consider working from home if possible and to avoid making non-essential trips. While construction on the Interchange is expected to be completed in 2020, according to a 2016 report obtained by the Gazette, even if Montreal tripled its investment in infrastructure repairs immediately, the city wouldn’t have all necessary construction completed until 2040.
“It’s a lack of investment for the past 50 years in Montreal that [caused] this situation,” transport minister François Bonnardel told the Gazette. “After we finish the Turcot Interchange, we’ll start Louis-Hippolyte-La-Fontaine (Tunnel), so for sure in the next ten years it’s going to be a lot of investment in Montreal, but we have to do it.”
The problem is that there’s not much that can be done about these sites, considering that construction happens out of necessity. But as Concordia student Stephanie Ricci states: “It’s too cold to have us waiting for 20-30 minutes,” said Ricci. “The solution would be to have more buses.”
Feature graphic by @spooky_soda.