Residents in Ste-Anne’s Ste-Marie district are offered a weekday rushhour Taxi Bus services that brings them to the commuter train station, plus a Friday night/weekend Taxi Bus option that allow them to catch the No. 217 bus at the corner of Anse-à-l’Orme Rd. and Timberlea Trail in Kirkland.
Ste-Anne Mayor Paula Hawa said the weekday rush-hour service is generally adequate, though the weekend service needs work. She acknowledges residents in this area have been clamouring for better service from the STM for many years.
Hawa said town officials have met with the STM a few times since last fall and she expects the agency to come with options to improve service.
“We’re not sure what they are going to get back to us with, but they are definitely aware of the challenges with that weekend service. What they are asking is that when people do encounter a problem, like a taxi not showing up, they should go to the STM website right away and fill in a complaint because they need to know the magnitude of the problem,” the mayor said.
“The only way they are going to know that is not by a resident telling their next-door neighbour but by the resident actually flagging it to the STM so they can look into the root cause and try and fix it.”
The Taxi Bus may not be perfect, but it does provide some service for the north sector, Hawa said, adding that the STM seems open to making improvements.
“It’s been an issue that’s been going on for 15 years,” she said. “We are making progress. The weekend taxi service is progress. It’s more than what we had two years ago.
“In a month from now, I am hoping we will be able to improve it even more,” she said. “It’s step by step. The STM is a huge bureaucracy and you have to work with them and be very patient.”
Ste-Anne resident Patricia Wright said her family doesn’t even bother using the Taxi Bus because the service only works during rush hours on weekdays, which wouldn’t always meet their needs.
“You have to order them, you can always use them during rush hour for free if you have an Opus card. It doesn’t help late at night if you have teenagers,” she said. “It”s a joke, quite frankly. I never use (the Taxi Bus). The kids got their licences when they came of age and they drive.”
Wright said the rush-hour buses that run along Ste-Marie Rd. are useful if you are heading to John Abbott College campus, but the nearest bus stop outside of peak periods is in neighbouring Kirkland.
“We have no buses on the weekend and no buses during rush hour. Even the buses during rush hour, you have to walk down to Chemin Ste-Marie. We’re tucked away in this little community with no bus service.”
The weekday rush-hour Taxi Bus drives people living in the Ste-Marie district to the Ste-Anne train station at Highway 20.
Users, who will be picked up at their home, must reserve their trip and call the designated cab company (514-637-4444) at least 40 minutes in advance, according to the STM. This rush-hour service runs Monday to Friday and is synchronized with the AMT’s commuter train schedule.
The weekend Taxi Bus, which has nine designated drop-off/pickup spots in Ste-Anne, starts at about 6:30 p.m. Friday and the final run back from the Kirkland 217 bus stop is just after midnight Sunday.
On a notice recently posted on its website, the town is asking dissatisfied Taxi Bus users to complain to the STM’s customer service department. Users can file a complaint by calling 514-786-4636 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or by filling out an online form at www.stm.info/en/info/customer-service/contact-us.