I couldn’t help admire the ingenuity of this idea by Montreal’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, which I assume is La Société de Transport de Montréal (STM). They started a new bus service with real services.
Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, much of the grumbling from other transit services and from unionized employees in the sector, seems to focus on the fact that these new bus routes will offer passengers air-conditioning, toilets and even Wi-Fi Internet access on board.
These are all amenities that users will obviously welcome, and so the resentment on the part of other transit services speaks eloquently about where their real priorities lie: with protecting market share, not with the best possible customer service.
Now there’s a bus service that can truly compete with personal automobile use. I wonder if there’s a premium charge for using the bus over buses without such amenities.
Certainly, we don’t like two-tier medicare, but is two-tier public transport a bad thing. I know there are nicer buses and not so nice buses in some places. In China, for example, you can pay an extra 1 RMB ( ~ 16 cents CDN) to ride the air conditioned bus. In Hong Kong, the First Class cars on the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) trains are double the cost of regular fare and offer plush comfy seating as opposed to hard metallic subway seating.
I’m okay if somebody wants to spend extra for a more comfortable ride. Whatever is in your budget.