The borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro has launched a new online service designed to make it easier for West Island residents interested in carpooling to get to work or anywhere else after work hours.
The idea is to convince more people to double-up and triple-up in one vehicle, said Monique Worth, the borough mayor on Monday.
With the Turcot Interchange rebuild, several new express STM buses from the West Island and new reserved bus lanes, including one on St. Jean Blvd. have already been put into service. But more can still be done to help reduce traffic congestion and carbon-gas emissions, Worth said.
There are very few east-west thoroughfares in the borough and, the only road that crosses the entire territory is Gouin Blvd.
“It just makes sense,” the mayor added. “So many people are going in the same direction. With the price of gas around $1.48-a-litre, you can save money, too.”
The platform was designed by the Carpooling Network, a privately-owned company that since 2005 has offered an online place for drivers and passengers to connect. The borough signed a two-year $24,000 contract with the company, which has more than 50,000 users and 50 affiliates across North America, including private companies, universities and municipalities.
The service is used not only by workers but by other groups, including out-of-town students looking for a ride back to school after a weekend at home.
At a press conference on Monday, borough officials demonstrated how drivers and passengers can register free-of-charge at pfds-rox.carpoolingnetwork.com. carpooling network. They demonstrated how users can also calculate their personal gas-savings and the carbon-gas emission reduction attributable to their carpooling effort.
If the online service proves successful, Worth said, other city of Montreal boroughs will likely follow suit. An initiative under the borough’s sustainable development plan, the electronic platform is the first of its kind on Montreal Island.
“It’s a simple action but one that could make a big difference,” said Robert Chicoine, a Montreal urban planner who worked on the borough’s sustainable development plan in a consulting capacity.
Chicoine said the beauty of the online service is that it will bring together potential car-sharers in the suburbs, a part of the city with a lower population density and where it can be more difficult to make matches between drivers and passengers.
“There’s always a question of having enough people to make it work,” said Chicoine. “In this case, I think it can work.”
As it stands now, the car is king, according to the borough’s sustainable development plan. The plan released last winter suggests for daily journeys, 76.3 per cent of Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents rely on the car, followed by public transit (13.6 per cent), other motorized transportation (7.6 per cent) and walking or cycling (5.8 per cent.)