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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

New blog: The Transitive

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Local blogger Steve Faguy recently wrote a post about some new Montreal-based blogs that were all created as part of a citizen journalism class at Concordia University. My favourite (and probably the most relevant to Spacing Montreal readers) is The Transitive: Montreal in Transit. It’s a new blog with only eight or nine posts so far so it is difficult to know in what direction exactly the writers plan to take it but they seem to be focusing more on being a rider of transit in Montreal than the actual workings of the STM. Issues with the STM are dealt with in a couple posts (one about the end of hostilities between the STM and the union and another about smart cards) but the rest are personal stories or observations. One post deals with a writer’s first encounter with the notorious 80 bus of Avenue du Parc. Another post is about what the writer calls “transit friends”; those people who share the same routines with us and whom we see every day at the Metro or bus stop yet rarely directly interact with:

“[…]most people keep a relatively regular schedule and a relatively regular routine. Alarm clock rings at seven o’clock. Get to the metro station just after eight. Stand ready to catch the car at the second bank of benches. Arrive at work, school, whatever, at nine. This pattern is then repeated approximately eight hours later.

So, now you’re not one of 835 thousand [daily riders]. You’re one of the 50 to 100 people who arrive at your metro station or bus stop at the same time everyday. And when you’re one of that 50 or 100, you will inevitably get to know the people around you–if not intimately, then at least by sight.

These are your transit friends. The guy in the yellow jacket that bobs his head and sings to himself at a barely audible level. Backpack girl who nails you daily with her hump despite your polite but persistent looks suggesting that she remove her bag. You may not know names, but you have all of their idiosyncrasies filed away in your memory.”

Although this blog isn’t going to tell you much about the inner workings of the STM, it gives an interesting look at how the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of ordinary transit users in Montreal interact with one of the most celebrated and derided pieces of infrastructure in the city. Hopefully they continue to write the blog when the school assignment has ended and and they have received their grade.


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