Broken Pencil: Commuting to Loyola

Graphic by @spooky_soda

It’s annoying as heck and there should be more efficient route options

I’ve lived in a part of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (N.D.G.) that’s relatively close to the Vendôme metro since starting at Concordia. Thankfully, most of the time, commuting to the Loyola campus isn’t so bad—for me at least. Yeah, sure, there are times when a packed 105 Sherbrooke bus drives past me at the Decarie or Girouard stops because there simply isn’t any room. It happens—and it’s frustrating—but I can’t imagine how much more annoying the regular commute is for students coming from off-island, downtown or further east where you have to transfer.

To avoid the bus driving past me, I’ll often make the longer walk down to Vendôme. Many times, the line for the 105 goes so far back that it fuses with the line for the 90 St-Jacques bus, then you end up with a grumpy elderly lady warning you not to take her place in a line you didn’t realize you were waiting in (true story). If you actually make it on the bus after that massive line, you’re sure to be packed in with the other passengers tighter than a can of sardines. Will you be able to nudge your way off the bus in time when your stop comes up? Who knows? That’s the risk you take with the 105.

N.D.G. has the reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange to thank for the ridiculous amount of traffic congestion. Repairs to the major highway intersection started in 2011, according to the Transport, Mobilité durable et Électrification des Transports du Quebec’s website, and is ongoing. This construction can also affect Concordia’s shuttle bus route, which is sometimes a more efficient alternative to the 105. According to Dominick Lucyk, a former Concordia student, “when it wasn’t busy, [he] found the time on the shuttle quite peaceful,” but that it was stressful during peak hours.

Increased traffic congestion from the Turcot construction, overcrowding on the 105 and the shuttle, combined with people that simply aren’t aware of the space they occupy, make for a consistently pleasant commute to Loyola (sarcasm heavily implied).

Arguably, one of the most obvious ways overcrowding on the 105 could be reduced is through the introduction of articulated buses. These accordian-style buses are quite long and require a larger area to safely turn around. The Elmhurst loop at the end of the 105’s route would need to be extended, which is an issue that has yet to be addressed by the Société de Transport de Montréal. What’s more frustrating is that a vacant lot ideal for this extension sits right next to the loop.

Also, what about students coming from Laval, the West Island, South Shore and anywhere else off-island? For many, a large part of why they bought a car was because of where the university campuses, especially Loyola, are located in relation to where they live. Students without cars who typically rely on the Réseau de transport métropolitain (RMT) or other train services, know that getting anywhere between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. is impossible, and since most alternate bus routes range from one and a half to two hours each way, there really aren’t many other options.

In the meantime, though, all we can do is plan in advance as much as possible. Transit is a great app that uses GPS to track where buses are en route. It automatically accounts for overlapping transit networks and gives relatively accurate estimated times of arrivals. Another useful tool is the Concordia University app, which has a section with the shuttle bus schedule. Or you could always race the 105 on foot during peak traffic hours. I bet you’d win.

Graphic by @spooky_soda

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