Montreal has the worst winter of any Western metropolis. It’s a special kind of brutal.
The temperature drops, the light goes out early. Sundresses are traded in for long johns and parkas. Body hair starts to to grow unabated till April.
Come November, carrying out our tedious, everyday routines starts requiring a kind of Herculean fortitude: from cleaning the yard, to fetching the mail, to summoning the strength to get out of bed.
Winter here isn’t “rainy season” — and it isn’t a cute little dip in the thermostat either. It’s a test of your mettle. It’s a darwinian gauntlet. It’s what separates Le vrai montréalais from the poseurs: those cold-decrying American exchange students, those teeth-chattering Parisians, those Herschel-loving, umbrella-toting Vancouverites.
Well guess what. Winter in Montreal just got a tiny bit more tolerable. With a partnership between your favourite transit app 🕺✨ and the folks that run transit: the STM 🚌💨. The first perk of our partnership?
We now have real-time info for Montreal buses!
You’ve heard rumours for years about the mythical real-time unicorn. You knew it was going to change your life, but you didn’t know when. Today the teasing is over. Real-time for Montreal buses is actually live.
When you open Transit, you’ll see real-time departure times for every nearby bus line. No more imprecise scheduled times. 😘🙏
(NOTE: Montreal real-time is still in beta! Expect some virtual “bumps in the road” to match the bumps on our actual roads. We’re working with the STM to get rid of these real-time bugs as fast as we can.)
Real-time information will also work in our trip planner. For all you super-commuters who stitch together multiple legs (bus+metro, bus+bus, etc.) it will give you a realistic idea about what connections are possible. These will vary from day to day, from trip to trip — but they’ll ensure you’re never stuck at a stop, waiting an hour for one bus when another one would have been faster. With real-time data, we can give you the best plan for every trip. We’ll even show you connections that the “schedule” says are impossible.
How did we get this data?
Today we’re proud to announce that Transit has been endorsed by the STM. Actually… let’s try that again:
Today we are JUMPING AROUND LIKE WILD SPACE MONKEYS because we’ve been endorsed by the STM. No longer the lost cousin of Montreal public transit, the STM has welcomed us into their family for real. This comes with lots of perks, and lots of responsibilities too. Starting today…
- We’ll help the STM improve service on the ground by sharing anonymous usage data
- We’ll help the STM test their real-time data — especially during the period where that data is only available on Transit
- We’ll meet with the STM multiple times a year to discuss ways to improve the rider experience, aka ✨ snazzy new features ✨
- We’ll provide the STM with support and vice versa
- The STM will help promote Transit in all sorts of ways. We want every transit rider in Montreal to have our app on their phone.
No money is exchanging hands here — but it will make a huge difference in improving Montreal’s “default app” for public transportation.
What about GO?
Hardcore Transit fans know that this isn’t the first real-time initiative we’ve launched in Montreal. Last December, we announced GO, our real-time transit companion. In addition to giving you real-time updates on your trip (when to leave for your stop, when to disembark, when to transfer) GO lets you share your real-time vehicle positions, which we then share with other riders. To date, GO has crowdsourced real-time data for more than 300,000 transit trips in Montréal.
GO crowdsourcing isn’t going away. We’ll continue to collect crowdsourced data to improve our real-time predictions, and your stats and ranking will continue to update. However, the vehicle positions generated by GO will not be shared with other users while we properly merge the two datasets together.
As we perfect our Montreal real-time recipe… let us know if you sight any inaccuracies or weird bugs. We’re on Twitter @transitapp 🦉🗯.
So what now, hein? Big partnerships, big stakes. (And not the kind that come with frites 🍟👌.) We know that being officially partnered with the STM comes with a lot more responsibility — but bon ben voilà les gars, ON EST PRÊT!
How did we get so prêt? We’ve been partnering with lots of transit agencies: we’re the endorsed app in Boston, Calgary, Edmonton, Las Vegas, and more. Transit agencies are realizing that Transit can provide riders with a world-class mobile experience and super-reliable data — without spending tax dollars on underpowered, infrequently-updated (and usually unpopular) apps.
Agencies are also realizing that Transit’s mission is totally aligned with their own: we want to get people out of their cars, and onto public transit. The only way to do that is by making transit reliable and refreshingly fun. We’re making that happen. 💪
At the same time… Montreal is different. It’s not just one of our biggest systems. It’s our hometown system. It’s the one we ride every day. It’s the one we read about in the newspapers. On Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s the one that has inspired all of our features, from the Nearby Mode, to our visual trip planner, to GO, to our integrations for BIXI, Uber, and carshare.
Transit wouldn’t exist without Montreal. Not without our stalwart local investors, our brilliant Mile End-based team, our partners at the STM, or you: the hundreds of thousands of Montrealers who boot up Transit every month.
For years, we’ve tried to set the bar for what a transit app can do. Now, with the STM’s endorsement, we ARE the bar. We are so, so, unspeakably honoured.
Now it’s time to push that bar into the stratosphere.