Whither the 105?

Service demanded

By Joel Ceausu

“Mitigation of Turcot,” reads a large placard. “Not constipation.”

Some two dozen NDG residents showed up early for an MUHC neighborhood meeting last week and staked a spot outside the McGill building on de Maisonneuve in front of the new superhospital.

Apart from hoisting signs about the lack of local bus service, they were asking passersby to sign a petition to boost the beleaguered 105 that was reduced last spring due to budget cuts. The petition has to date collected some 500 signatures.

“How is it possible today,” asked Louise Venne, “when all we hear is the call to public transit, that we have to beg for buses?”

“The 105 is a can of sardines,” said NDG Councillor Peter McQueen. “Transport Quebec paid for a reserved bus lane on Sherbrooke that was supposed to mitigate some of the problems caused by (work on the) Turcot.”

However, with a reduction of almost 10 percent of buses on the Sherbrooke route, those remaining are so full as they travel east that people can hardly embark at several stops.

“The goal was to mitigate Turcot so people can leave their cars behind. Now buses are so bloody crowded, many would rather take their cars.”

It feels a lot like a bait-and-switch to many locals, like Venne. “I just can’t imagine that this was a coincidence. It’s a big decision to create a reserved bus lane and it’s a big decision to cut service. Does left know what right is doing?”

The STM responded to the furor by increasing the number of half-circuit 105 departures by about 40 buses.

That’s not a good prospect, says Karen Urtnowski with the NDG Senior Citizens’ Council.

She told the assembled panel at the meeting—which included representatives of the AMT, STM and Transport Quebec, that area seniors and people with reduced mobility are having a hard time riding the 105. “Maybe they have less balance or strength to stand on those overcrowded buses,” which can result in injuries.
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