Updates from December, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:54 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

    The closure of the Mount Royal tunnel has been delayed till spring.

    • Bert 21:47 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

      They have to be kidding! I wonder how OPUS+ users will take this. Changes to the subscription have to be in before the 11th of the preceding month. So, I have already changed to a 141$ zone 3 bus-metro-train pass from a zone 2 98$ train only pass.

    • Faiz imam 22:53 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

      “To accommodate users of the Deux-Montagnes train line, CDPQ Infra will provide free travel for January and a discount of up to 30 per cent on certain mensural tickets from January to March.”

    • Bert 06:31 on 2019-12-18 Permalink

      I am sure that they ill reimburse the 141 that they have already charged my CC.

    • Kate 08:13 on 2019-12-18 Permalink

      There’s a little more detail Wednesday morning: the delay is also costing a lot of money. Bert, you can’t be the only person in that situation right now: you should go to a service counter and ask them to change it for you.

    • Bert 08:55 on 2019-12-18 Permalink

      Oh, I know I am not the only one. And it’s not 40$ that is going to be the end of me. Since I have started taking the train, about 4 years ago, it has been fantastic…. Except for communication any time there is a problem, communication is a nightmare.

      Oh well, I choo-choo-choose the train.

  • Kate 13:40 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Singer Monique Leyrac died on the weekend at age 91. I must have seen her name around when I was a kid, because for me it still has overtones of chic. Wikipedia says her birthname was Tremblay and she was born in Montreal, but even the French entry has few other details of her origins except that her father was a carpenter.

    • Kate 13:26 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

      The Gazette looks at the bus shortage and reasons for it, although I find “implementation of a new software at the STM’s garages to manage repair work” is a feeble excuse: you can use a clipboard for this, in a pinch, or stick all the data in an ordinary spreadsheet – so some other problem must be going on.

      • Blork 13:55 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Hmmm, don’t bet on it. If they have a new software to manage repairs, and it’s taking longer than expected to implement, and some plug decides to speed things up by using a clipboard, well that plug is now running a parallel system, which will lead to further confusion and errors and the likelihood of them being fired for it.

      • Meezly 13:58 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Very helpful to know. But jesus, spitting, verbal abuse, insults and pulling a gun on bus drivers? I’ve been majorly pissed at late or missing buses, but never felt it necessary to take it out on the next driver – what is wrong with people?!
        The article contains a link to another article about the various defects coming out of STM supplier, the Nova Bus factory, which seems to a major contributing factor to the backlog of buses in need of repair.

      • Kevin 14:50 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Never doubt the idiocy of bureaucracy.
        No longer can I walk down the hall to IT and ask them to fix something on my desktop, or my printer, or photocopier. Now I have to spend 20 to 60 minutes on the phone with a so-called help desk on the other side of the planet, before that person gives up on attempting to solve it remotely and allows the person down the hall to fix the problem.

        In the STM’s particular case, the software problem affects how they order parts.
        From the Gazette in November “As an example, a shopkeeper recently ordered screws, but instead of getting a box of 100, they sent him just one screw.”

      • Bert 15:04 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Blork s right on it. Maintenance schedules and software can get quite complex. Some maintenance is carried out on an as-needed basis but much of it is done to a time or a life schedule. For example, change the oil every X km or replace tires every Y months.

        The software will have at it’s base (in this case) the bus. But the bus is made up of components that can be replaced. Each of these are tracked by time: original purchase or replacement. Each of these are also tracked by other properties such as serial number. So, that replacement airbag in your car, the manufacturer now knows the serial number of that one and it’s associated to your car, in case of a further recall of airbags.

        The software can handle warranty information for both buses and replacement equipment. That 8 year old bus, with a 12 year warranty, you will know it.

        It can also handle part inventory and proactive ordering. So, say you always want 100 widgets available, when your stock falls below a threshold an order can automatically be placed.

        It can also schedule preventative maintenance, advanced part picking and job creation. It can manage worker skills and competencies. An engine rebuild person will not be put on an electrical problem. A certification may be required to handle “Freon” for the air-con system. Some work may need to be verified and signed off on.

        It can also manage the availability of facilities, say if a lift is required or not and/or specialized equipment that might be limited in number. Oh, Some of that specialized equipment needs to be periodically calibrated and repaired…. Guess what does that.

        The system can then be integrated in to (at least) 3 other line-of-business systems. 1) the ERP – finance system for ordering, receipt and payment of parts. 2) the route planning and driver scheduling system. 3) the maintenance personnel and equipment scheduling / orchestration.

        So, because the maintenance software is not working well, buses can be pulled off the line in a proactive manner so that they don’t break down on the road or fail some other SAAQ test/requirement. Work is taking longer because parts are not available, workers are not available, bays are not available.

      • Kate 08:15 on 2019-12-18 Permalink

        Bert, thanks for the detailed explanation.

      • Max 09:03 on 2019-12-19 Permalink

        It is a good explanation. But managing staff / stock / facilities are standard-issue business problems. No doubt some dolt at the STM decided they should “roll their own” special solution rather than go with something off-the-shelf. And we all wait in the cold as a result.

    • Kate 13:18 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

      Beaconsfield wants to sue the city of Montreal for what it calls overpaid taxes.

      I’d be prepared to bet a large poutine that Ensemble Montreal is behind this one.

      • LJ 19:43 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        I will not bet against you since you have a great nose for these things, but unlike almost everything Ensemble Montreal complains about, there are some very legitimate beefs here:

        Taxation without representation: Approximately half of the taxes Beaconsfield collects goes directly to Montreal, yet the citizens of Beaconsfield have no vote there.

        Double paying for services: For example, Beaconsfield residents pay tax for services like water to the City of Montreal, yet do not receive any water from there. Instead, water comes from Pointe Claire for which they are separately taxed through meters installed in every home.

        Paying high amounts for services that are practically non-existent or at least much less that paid for: This would include things like bus service, which is scant in Beaconsfield compared to just about anywhere else on the Island except perhaps for the east end, police (one can go weeks without seeing a police car and there is no police station in the City of Beaconsfield…which is OK if were not paying so much for it), and so on.

      • Ginger Baker 20:37 on 2019-12-17 Permalink


        1. They do have a voice on the agglomeration council though, their mayor. That’s the representative. If they want more representation, their people should vote to join the central city.

        2. I don’t think the water systems are isolated from one another; I think it’s all part of one big integrated system that supplies the whole island; could be wrong though.

        3. Station 1 is literally just over the line in Kirkland and is also close to the highway. Station 3 and Station 5 are both relatively close by. There are 19,000 people in Beaconsfield and they’re all well within range of the SPVM’s West Island cop shops.

        Bus service could be ameliorated everywhere, but Beaconsfield has access to at least two principle bus lines and two train stations, as well as at least one express bus heading to Lionel Groulx.

        Thirty years ago Beaconsfield was mostly middle-class. Today it’s mostly upper-middle and upper class. It got rich, they live in a primo area, and they should pay more into the common pot. It’s not just what they directly get out of it; they can afford to pump more money into the system than what they may need from it.

        In so doing, Beaconsfield residents help maintain the social and societal equilibrium. They might not think much about who else they’re helping, but what they put in comes back in the form of maintaining their status as an elite suburb. Without the safety net provided by the city, provided by a broad tax base, they’d lose their advantage.

        And besides, they’ll be benefitting quite directly from the new West Island national park. Villeray doesn’t get that the way the West Island will.

      • LJ 21:06 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        1 – Mayors are a small minority on the agglomeration council and are routinely outvoted, their concerns never addressed. Thus it is not democratic in that sense and not a replacement for a real vote. The end result is taxation without representation.

        2 – I believe they are separate systems, and in any case, why pay twice for the same service?

        3 – Right, there is one in Kirkland, but there is no station in the City of Beaconsfield.

        For the other points, the trains as well as the express buses run essentially only during rush hour, and last train is at 9:15 PM. For many living there, walking to the nearest bus stop can easily take over half an hour, and a trip from say the Plateau back home can easily run 2.5 hours.

        I do not necessarily disagree that those more able should be paying more in taxes, but that is already taken care of with all sorts of taxes, including income taxes and yearly taxes on the value of residences, both of which are progressive taxes. I am less sure about your assessment of the wealth of those living there, it is clearly a generalization not true of everyone, for example, many retired seniors live in the area.

        Overall I believe the mayor of Beaconsfield has a strong case for over-payment of taxes, which is unfortunately unlikely to change given the unfairness of the way the agglomeration council works, which gives Montreal free rein to soak other municipalities who then have no political recourse. Hence the law suit.

    • Kate 09:03 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

      A reader sends me this link that says the STM “plans to support Apple Pay around 2022-2023 for credit cards, but not the OPUS fare card” and I’m not even sure what that’s supposed to mean in practice.

      • j2 09:31 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        To me that spins like you can pay for a pass at the kiosk and maybe even a ride on the bus with tap, but not keep the express ticket on the phone.

        Express will work even if the phone died so is clearly a better solution – so way over the heads of whoever does STM/Opus. Even tap will probably be the most basic implementation that you can think of.

      • Joey 12:44 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Yeah sounds like they will accept Apple Pay (and, I guess, any contact system of payment) as a method of payment – i.e., you can tap your phone/watch/credit card to complete a transaction at an Opus dispensary, but you will not be able to load your Opus card onto your phone’s wallet app and tap your phone on the bus or at a metro turnstile. But it’s really not clear.

      • Blork 12:51 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Yeah, pretty unclear, but I think Joey has it. So it’s only really useful for people who don’t use an OPUS card. OTOH that might mean more casual users*, simply because people are fickle and I suspect a lot of people don’t use the bus “casually” simply because they don’t want to have to deal with figuring out the fare and exact change (who even carries cash these days?) etc. Whereas if it’s just a tap of the phone then hey, let’s jump on this bus.

        “Casual user” defined as someone who generally doesn’t use public transit because they just walk or ride a bike or skateboard or whatever, but about once a month they’re out somewhere with a longish walk (or expensive Uber ride) ahead of them, but hey look, there’s a 55 or an 80 or whatever but “FFS I don’t have exact change so forget it.” I suspect there are actually a LOT of people who fit that description.

      • DeWolf 13:13 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        I’m a casual user and I generally keep tickets on my Opus card, but on those occasions when I’m out it would be great to be able to use my credit card to pay for a fare.

        I’ve never understood why you can’t just add cash value onto an Opus and have it deducted when you tap into the metro or onto a bus. Presto does that in Ontario, Compass does it in Vancouver…

      • Blork 13:15 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        I’m referring to people who don’t even have an Opus card because they never take the bus (because it’s a hassle blah blah blah).

      • Spi 13:33 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        DeWolf you’re clearly asking for too much, keep in mind this is the same OPUS card that “expires” after 4 years for some nebulous contractual reason with their supplier.

      • Joey 14:30 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        @Blork not just cash, exact change. Remember that woman who was dumped in between stops because she only had a $5 bill?

        When Opus was introduced the STM did a major promotional blitz talking about how they were learning from major transit agencies the world over, how Opus was going to take the best of all worlds, etc. Well, here we are.

      • Bert 15:19 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Spi, the reason that the card expires is that there is an SSL certificate in there and it’s the certificate that expires. Yes, it’s an arbitrary period and the supplier does indeed sell more cards this way but it’s also to help protect the STM and the contents of the card. Given enough time any certificate can be cracked. Putting a death-date on it and the contents are only valuable for that period. Event the Tyrrell Corporation put pre-determined death-dates on (some) of their products.

        Compare debit cards and credit cards. After the expiration date, the credit card (expiry and CVV) is worthless for purchases. You could mail an expired CC to your favourite Nigerian prince and he won’t be able to purchase with it. Give the same guy your debit and he can try all he wants, up to other limits that the bank may impose. (e.g. number of failed tries, etc.)

    • Kate 08:58 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

      Despite an outcry, Mayor Plante is digging in her heels on naming a REM station Griffintown—Bernard-Landry.

      Someone raised the point here whether or why Plante has naming rights over the REM, which is not a municipal project, and I don’t know the answer to that. I also don’t see why the station isn’t just “Griffintown” which is what I hope its eventual users will call it.

      • Kevin 10:22 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Plante’s quote from the article: “But it’s also the entrance to the multimedia district founded by the former premier Mr. Bernard Landry, who made a major contribution to the economic development of Montreal and Quebec,” she said.

        That’s a terrible rationale.

        Ask the good people of Vercheres to name something after the dead politician.

      • Filp 12:49 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        The REM will undoubtedly use whatever name is being suggested by the mayor, probably as a way of staying on good terms with the city. It costs the CDPQ zero dollars and zero mind to just add a hyphen.
        Kevin, there’s definitely something in Montreal going to be named after him, but it doesn’t have to be Griffintown. However, comments about how some off island city should use the name instead make it seem like Montreal doesn’t honor PQ politicians. René Lévesque, the founder the party, definitely has his place in the toponymie…

      • qatzelok 14:09 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Rather than the REM station, I would rename Wellington Strreet – “rue Bernard Landry.”

        Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, and Arthur Wellesley’s old stomping grounds (Wellington) appears as often as McDonalds franchises in British Empire-created countries. “Wellington Street” is like having a “No Name Street.” Or “President’s Choice Street.”

        Rue Bernard Landry…. would be more unique.

      • Kevin 14:55 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        I suggested Vercheres because that’s where Landry lived.
        He was a MNA for part of Laval.

        Renaming parts of this city for every minor PQ entity is just retconning and divisive.

      • Donovan King 16:25 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

      • ant6n 18:02 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        Projet Montreal didn’t make any effort whatsoever on their election platform to not have the REM monopolize the Mount-Royal tunnel, i.e. improve the project by integrating it with VIA and Commuter trains (I believe Plante said something nonsensical like “well you can’t be elected on building transit and be against a transit project”). Now they’re having this side show controversy over what is unrelated to how useful the project is for moving people and integrating with the region.

      • JP 20:17 on 2019-12-17 Permalink

        I will certainly only ever refer to it as Griffintown Station. I will also not vote for her again. So much for logic and erasing/ignoring history altogether. This was a perfect opportunity to commemorate Irish history in Montreal.

      • Kate 08:19 on 2019-12-18 Permalink

        JP, I’m not sure I’d go that far, because the current city hall opposition has shown itself petty and with no vision of how the city could be run differently, but Plante has shown herself to be culturally tone-deaf in a way I hadn’t expected of her over this relatively trivial matter.

        I never met my Irish-Canadian grandfather who was born in the Griff but I feel myself channeling him at moments over this, and I can almost hear some of the choice things he would’ve had to say about the mayor’s idea of a suitable figure to be enshrined in that place.

    • Kate 08:47 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

      The firm that owns the alligator seen in a recent viral video had a similar animal go for a stroll in Tétreaultville in 2015, but their main problem now is they’re keeping a collection of exotic reptiles in Ste-Julie, which has a bylaw against exotic pets.

      • Kate 08:44 on 2019-12-17 Permalink | Reply  

        Interesting but saddening piece here about Fred Christie, denied service in a Montreal tavern in 1936 because he was black. The case went to the Supreme Court which reversed a decision in his favour by a lower court and affirmed instead that a business owner can choose who to serve and who not to serve. Not one of Canada’s shining judiciary moments. Christie left the country and his descendants have only now been found and interviewed.

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