Buses on the South Shore | Six months after its redesign, exo observes an increase in traffic

Six months after its overhaul imposed by the entry into service of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), which had provoked several complaints from users, the situation is stabilizing at exo. The carrier claims to have observed a drop in complaints of around 80% and an increase in traffic of between 6 and 9%, depending on the sector.

“We had a new network and as in the majority of large projects, it was normal for there to be a change in habits. The more people became aware of the new network, the less dissatisfaction we observed and the more users we had,” said the spokesperson for the transport company, Jean-Maxime St-Hilaire, in an interview.

This summer, The Press had reported that complaints from citizens were accumulating on social networks since exo buses can no longer cross the Samuel-De Champlain bridge. The circuits have since been reorganized to serve the suburbs between them, connecting to the REM to the city center.

Several towns were affected by the overhaul, including La Prairie, Candiac, Delson, in the Le Richelain/Roussillon sector, but also the entire area including Chambly, Richelieu and Carignan. Users denounced in particular an increase in connections, an increase in travel times and generally more difficult routes since the redesign.

Some changes have since been made. For example, timetables have been revised to align with those of educational institutions and CEGEPs and the service perimeter of certain lines has been increased, to serve more users.

Fewer complaints, more users

Result: complaints reduced by 80% in both sectors in six months. Ridership increased by 9% in Chambly-Richelieu-Carignan, with a jump from 14,122 to 15,365 trips, and by 6% in Le Richelain/Roussillon, an increase from 33,378 to 35,443 trips. This data was taken during the week of January 29, 2024, then compared to the week of January 30, 2023, a year earlier.

The two zones respectively have punctuality at the stop – i.e. the proportion of buses that arrive 5 minutes or less late at each station – of 82.7% and 89.6% at present. Service delivery reaches 99.95% and 98.67%.

Exo says it commissioned a recent survey to support this trend. The survey confirmed in particular that “customers say they particularly appreciate the new bus lines providing access to the REM and suburban train stations, […] as well as the extended service hours of the new network,” maintains the carrier.

Exo’s executive director of operations, Marc Rousseau, spoke Wednesday of a “significant improvement in the reliability of the new bus network in six months.”

“Our network operations and planning teams have worked hard, in collaboration with our partners, to identify concrete solutions to meet user demands. We continue to monitor performance indicators closely to continuously improve network reliability,” he said in a press release.

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