Montreal, Quebec City transit agencies reduce services as ridership plummets

With ridership dwindling due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the public transit agencies in Montreal and Quebec City will strategically reduce services starting March 30.

In Montreal, the main impact will be to peak-hour services, the city's public transit agency (STM) said in a statement Thursday. Both bus and Metro services will be reduced by 20 per cent during those normally busy periods. 

The transportation networks are considered essential services. Both the STM and Quebec City's public transit company, the RTC, say they will continue to provide access to other essential services.

During peak times on Montreal's Green and Orange Metro lines, trains will come every four minutes and five seconds on average (instead of every three minutes and 20 seconds). Service on the Blue and Yellow lines and the Metro's operating hours will remain unchanged.

Compared to this time last year, bus use has dropped 75 per cent and Metro ridership has dropped 80 per cent, the STM said. The RTC has also seen an 80 per cent drop in ridership.

The RTC is maintaining 70 per cent of its network, but at a reduced frequency. More information can be found on the agency's website.

The STM is also cutting back buses serving Exo stations, where commuter train frequency has already been reduced, and it will scale back service on the 747 airport bus line.

Buses serving Jean-Drapeau Park, the casino and school-specific lines will be reduced significantly or eliminated.

Adaptive transport ridership has dropped 85 per cent, and the STM says that service, too, has been adjusted given the reduced demand.

In its statement, the STM said the changes take into account the transportation needs of essential workers.

The agency said it has paid special attention to maintaining service to the city's healthcare facilities, and studied ridership patterns to ensure service reductions won't lead to crowding.

Further information is available on the STM website.