Bus network redesign

Starting August 26, 2024, bus routes in the Lachine, LaSalle, Verdun, Sud-Ouest and south Ville-Marie sectors will be modified as part of the bus network redesign project.

Learn more about the upcoming changes

Rethinking the bus network together

In the coming months and years, a number of major public transit projects will be commissioned, including the REM already underway and in a few years, the Blue line extension. Deployment of these projects, your mobility needs, and urban development will have an impact on how you use bus service. Now is therefore the ideal time to rethink the bus network together to make it even more attractive and better adapted to changes on the Island of Montréal.

Let's do it together

As part of the bus network redesign, we are consulting you to identify your mobility needs and gather your ideas on the bus routes in your sector. This process will help us promote sustainable mobility in your area.

The 5 guiding principles

Service frequency is your priority, and we will make it the cornerstone of tomorrow’s bus network. Our goal is making the network more attractive while maintaining accessibility for one and all. How will we do that? By following five guiding principles, to be applied differently depending on the specificities and mobility needs of each sector.

Promote frequent service

More buses and greater frequency will let you get where you want to go without advance planning.

Unlike personal vehicles, buses are available according to predetermined schedules and on specific routes. You therefore have to plan your trip. Higher bus frequency will reduce how long you have to wait at a bus stop and total trip time. If a high-frequency bus line is available at almost any time of day, that means no more need to consult schedules and plan ahead! Frequent service also mitigates the negative impact in the event of an incident. On a high-frequency line, if a bus is delayed or can’t make its planned trip, you can take another bus on the same line without having to wait very long.

Provide efficient transfers

Transfers with less waiting time, for a more comfortable trip.

Transfers are one of the main sources of frustration for public transit users. They can have a negative impact on your comfort and travel time. Transfers from one bus line to another are sometimes inevitable, as people leave from different starting points and their destinations vary. Seeing that transfers can’t be avoided, it is important to reduce waiting time as much as possible. How can we do this? By organizing the network so that as many transfers as possible are between high-frequency lines.

Prioritize direct, linear routes

This type of route makes it easier for you to understand the bus network, by helping you know where you are headed and making your trip more efficient.

Frequent service on a direct, linear bus line often means shorter travel time and more predictable service. On top of that, it is easy for us to enhance service on a linear route — for example, by providing express bus service as well as regular service during higher-ridership periods such as rush hours.

The right bus in the right place at the right time

Choice of vehicle adapted to ridership during a given period.

In addition to regular buses, we use articulated buses and shared taxibuses. On a typical day, the scope of the population’s needs in terms of mobility varies widely. In addition to adjusting the level of service, the STM could make better use of its array of available vehicles and, at times, even consider more frequent deployment of on-request service.

Maintain routes to neighborhood destinations

So all our customers have adequate access to the territory.

Bus frequency isn’t the answer to all needs. Local service is also required for full coverage of the territory and to meet travel needs within individual neighbourhoods. Local lines have different advantages than high-frequency lines: they minimize walking time, create links between different neighbourhoods and can connect isolated sectors.

In addition, aside of our bus network redesign project, we will look into how to improve service quality and comfort for seniors.

Consult the accessibility page for more info on the external medias.

See Bus redesign guiding principles on YouTube

Projet phases

We have opted for a collaborative approach for the bus network redesign project. The main steps are listed below. 

Workshops were held in summer 2018 with stakeholders from different areas:

  • environmental and public transit organizations
  • employer representatives
  • mobility and public health researchers and university professors
  • community
  • disabled community/universal accessibility

The STM presented general orientations and gathered the participants’ feedback based on the specific situations of the groups they represented and their expertise. We thus confirmed the preliminary focus on rebalancing planning principles revolving around service performance (linearity, high-frequency service) and secondary-line coverage of the remainder of the territory.

An extensive online consultation called “Design a network to fit your priorities” was carried out in fall 2018. The purpose of the web survey was to measure the relative importance of various aspects of the networks’ attractiveness for customers:

  • Walking distance to get to bus stop
  • Frequency of bus service
  • Presence or not of a bus-to-bus transfer
  • Duration of bus trip

Close to 19,000 people responded to the survey, allowing us to obtain a sample representative of all types of clientele.

Watch the video that we made for the web consultation to better understand the different options offered within the bus network’s architecture:

Consult the accessibility page for more info on the external medias.

See Consultation on the bus network redesign on YouTube

In parallel, discussion workshops were held with customers that could have had difficulties filling out the online survey to ensure all groups were represented: seniors, community and visually-impaired.

Main conclusion

For all types of users, the participants identified bus service frequency as the leading consideration, far ahead of the other priorities.

Eight to nine times out of ten, the participants placed greater priority on bus service frequency than on the other three aspects presented. We observed slight differences for certain types of users, but service frequency remained the number-one priority.

  • People with functional limitations, like the other groups, placed priority on service frequency.
  • Seniors gave top priority to frequency but were more concerned than the other groups by walking distance.
  • Residents of the east and west tips of the island gave top priority to frequency but were more concerned than the other groups by total trip time.
  • The higher the family income, the greater the priority placed on speedy trips.

To learn more

Consultations by sector aim to gather the mobility needs, concerns and suggestions of citizens and customers based on the specificities of each neighbourhood. The consultation process follows the five guiding principles for the bus network redesign.

Ultimately, we would like to consult all sectors on the Island of Montréal during this third major phase. The STM will bring forward possible solutions to promote exchanges with the public, which will be invited to provide feedback, improvements and other ideas.

Consultations by sector are carried out progressively. The order in which they are held takes into account the gradual roll-out of major public transit projects, which have a significant influence on the bus network.

Let's chat about your needs


Since all areas of the city are different, we plan to hold public consultations so you can voice your needs and concerns to influence the bus service in your sector.

There are two ways to participate:

  1. Residents of every sector are invited to a virtual information session in the evening about the redesign project in their area. Project team members will be there to present their plans for the sector, listen to resident needs and answer your questions.
  2. An online consultation platform will also be made available to residents for a few weeks to gather their ideas and comments on tomorrow’s public transit, based on their mobility needs. 

The data collected will be analyzed and taken into account when redesigning the new bus network in your area.

Stay tuned for upcoming consultations in your area!

Visit the Let's chat online platform to see the results of the various consultations held to date.

Enhanced networks will be launched and implemented in the fourth phase. Implementation will take place by sector and mostly tie in with the commissioning of various major public transit projects.

An analysis of mobility data and the information gathered during the public consultation process will help us identify the changes that are needed to reconfigure a more attractive network that better meets needs.

During bus network design, various types of impacts (number of customers, time savings, etc.) are taken into account and validations are required at different levels, particularly from the municipalities involved.

Sectors completed and coming soon:

Île-des-Soeurs : 2023 (completed)

Sud-Ouest, south Ville-Marie and Verdun : August 26, 2024

Lachine and LaSalle : August 26, 2024

Frequently asked questions about the bus network redesign

The redesign involves reorganizing bus resources in preparation for the arrival of major public transit infrastructure, such as the REM. Its aim is to make the network better suited to the travel needs of the population, based on mobility needs (as determined by a diagnostic analysis and public consultations). Budget and available resources must also be considered. For each sector, we have options:

  • Reinvest service hours cut from other lines (e.g., the arrival of the REM will allow us to shorten some existing lines and reinvest to create additional transfers to the new stations)
  • Make zero-cost changes
  • Add service when funds allow

The new networks will be rolled out on a sector-by-sector basis as major public transit projects and residential developments are commissioned.

It is normal to have a considerable time gap between consultations by sector and actual implementation. Changes to the network are not taken lightly and can mean significant changes for customers. It is important for us to analyze the different types of impacts thoroughly. With the new routes, we aim to make significant mobility improvements in general, but it is our responsibility to measure and minimize negative impacts on customers. Validations are required at different levels, particularly with the municipalities involved. Some planning time is also required to determine the exact schedules and work shifts of the drivers.

We will provide the exact date a few weeks in advance, and a communication campaign will be rolled out to inform and support customers during these changes.

The schedule for the consultations by sector was created based on the roll-out order of new heavy transit infrastructure (REM, Blue line extension) and urban development projects (real estate projects, etc.) specific to each sector.

The sectors were divided based on bus service and take into account the administrative boundaries of the cities and boroughs consulted.

All needs expressed during the public consultations are considered. STM analysts try to meet these needs where possible while considering other factors, such as available resources and feasibility. Consultations also provide a better understanding of certain dynamics that are harder to grasp with the data normally used.

To build the new network—and continuously adapt it—we are using several sources of data:

  • Ridership data, which come from OPUS card validations, on-board bus counts (at every stop) and the number of customers going through the métro turnstiles.
  • Origin destination data from travel surveys conducted in the Greater Montréal area every five years to ask all household members about their travel habits. Long-term demographic projections can be applied to this data. These surveys are conducted by the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM).
  • Sociodemographic data, from Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ) and Statistics Canada (e.g., population density, employment data, proportion of motorization, average income, etc.).
  • Other local data, from major event providers and development project planning processes (e.g., schools, industrial areas, etc.).

We’re also working closely with stakeholders (cities, boroughs, employers, organizations, etc.) from the sectors to obtain up-to-date urban visions and plans.

Minibuses may appear like an efficient and cost-effective solution, but the reality is not so simple. Here are the main reasons why we do not use minibuses:

  • Our bus garages are not designed to accommodate these types of buses, except for the paratransit bus garage, which is at maximum capacity. Adapting bus garages would require major and expensive work.
  • Driver salaries are an important part of the operating costs for bus service. Wages are the same for minibuses and regular buses.
  • Service and maintenance are optimized when buses are all the same type.

The pricing of public transit in the Greater Montréal area is not the responsibility of the STM, but of the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM).

Although we are working with the responsible entities in both cases, the REM stations are being designed by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ Infra). Details of the stations can be found on their website.

Urban infrastructure planning is the responsibility of the concerned city or borough.

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