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Why I feel excited now for the public buses in Montreal

August 7, 2015

Dear public buses in Montreal,

two weeks ago I wrote that I am sorry for you. I explained that I like you and your awesome drivers but that you definitely deserve a better travel information system that makes it easier to use you.

I wrote a mail to smt (Société de transport de Montréal) with a link to the post and received a nice response within two hours. That’s what I call a super-fast service considering the fact that it was already late Friday afternoon!

And you won’t believe what they wrote me! Take a seat because I have exciting news for you:

… our buses will soon be equipped with an intelligent system that will simplify your life. This system will monitor the movements of all buses in real time so you know exactly what time your bus will arrive and if any service disruptions will affect you. Service status data will also be available on various information platforms. The chosen solution – a powerful, scalable, high-tech system.

Among the tools that will keep our customers better informed are the following:
• 26 passenger information terminals at some bus stops and 64 in as many métro station entryways
• Visual display and audio message devices aboard buses
• An app for the visually impaired
• Real-time information on all existing platforms (smart phone apps, SMS, Web and mobile Web, interactive voice response (IVR))

Furthermore they sent me a link to more information about the new iBus system¹. There is also an explanation video². I can’t really understand what the charming French speaking young man describes (because my French really sucks), but from what I see in the video, I can tell that new cool things are coming.

So let me tell you the highlights:

  • There will be visual displays and audio systems installed in you that announce the name of the stations! I think that is huge progress!

Screenshot from the iBus information video²

  • The new iBus system tracks all of you (buses) and can give the passengers the exact arrival time via SMS, Web, App or IVR³. So if there is a disruption for example, the passengers will be notified about the new arrival time.
  • Some stations will be equipped with information terminals that show when exactly you (buses) arrive at a station.
  • The new stations look like they can be spotted much better than the current ones.

Screenshot from the iBus information video² that shows the new bus station with a terminal

As far as I understand, only 26 stations will be equipped with new terminals for now. But for the rest of the stations it could help already if the printed timetables get a redesign as I mentioned in my last post.

So all in all I am really excited for you! Things will change to the better and I am really looking forward to ride with you when I come to Montreal the next time!

Happy regards,

Jenny, a passenger




1. This is the iBus explanation video:

2. Here is an wikipedia article about the iBus system in London: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBus_(London)

3. More information about IVR: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_voice_response

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3 Discussion to this post

  1. Leslie says:

    I enjoyed your two posts to the Montreal bus system. It is quite impressive that you took such detailed notes on a bus system that is not “yours” and presented them in a diplomatic way. It also must say something about your insightfulness as an information designer and a transport rider if many of your suggestions are the same ones that the planned improvements will be addressing!

  2. […] They also gave me more information about that new system and you can read more about it in this post. […]

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