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Get to Know Your Friendly Neighbourhood Public Transit

There’s no winning when it comes to transportation in the city of Montreal.

The rush hour traffic is horrendous if you’re driving around- no matter where you’re driving to and where you’re leaving from, there are very good chances that you’ll have to leave twice as early as you normally would to get places on time.

The city wants the solution to the traffic problem to be public transportation, but that isn’t without its share of problems either. Buses that never come, metros that are constantly delayed, and employees that are rude are just some of the issues that frequently arise regarding transit, not to mention the continuously climbing cost of a bus/metro pass.

The Société de Transport de Montréal, which is responsible for running Montreal’s metro and bus system, releases an annual report breaking down their statistics for the year. They break it down in short sentences on their website, but it’s once you download the actual report that you find the good stuff.

Here are some fun facts about the STM in 2015:

The STM has 9, 149 full-time employees working for their transit system. Of those, 24.8% are women and 24.7% are visible and/or ethnic minorities. The average age is 46 years old, and employees average 11.2 years of service. Over 1,000 of those employees are currently eligible for retirement.

The metro system covers 71 kilometres divided into 68 stations with 759 metro cars. There are a total of 1,721 buses in use to fulfill 220 bus routes, of which 209 were wheelchair accessible.

According to the website, at their mid-year assessment, the STM recorded a 91% overall satisfaction rate regarding the metro system. They listed 3 things that their clientele particularly liked about the service:

“1) All the information available to plan a transit ride

  2) The range of available transit fares  

  3) The various fare purchasing options”

But wait. Aren’t those last two the exact same thing? Couldn’t they actually list three different pros to their metro service?

A quick glance at the brief information published directly to their website concerning their mid-year report shows that everything looks like sunshine and rainbows. Based on their website it seems like the STM is doing everything possible to get citizens from point A to point B on time, and that they are extremely successful so everyone loves them.

When you open up the detailed report, you see the breakdown of complaints they received in five different categories: complaints against employees, regarding the service, equipment, customer service and other. The report shows the complaint breakdown for both 2014 and 2015. The short version of the results? 

The number of complaints increased in every category but two to total over 30,000 formally filed complaints in 2015. More than 15,000 of those complaints were regarding the service of the transit system itself.

Not published anywhere in the 100-page report is the statistics on crime in the metro system, which according to an article published by CTV Montreal in late September of 2015, has decreased in all but one category: sexual assaults. 

The article entitled “Crime Drops in Metro, Except for Sexually-Related Offences”, reads the following:

“The Montreal police force reports there have been 26 crimes of a sexual nature in the metro system so far this year. That includes two cases of sexual assault, about six cases of exhibitionism, and about 15 cases of groping.”

The article also goes on to state that the number of thefts and assaults have decreased.

Despite some positives in the report such as a relatively balanced budget and the decrease in crime, using public transit still isn’t that appealing to the common citizen because of its lack of efficiency. 

Outside of rush hour, you can be waiting 10 minutes for a metro and 30 minutes for a bus. If you have to connect with another bus or another metro line, the wait can become a little absurd.

Maybe you’re better off sitting in all that crazy traffic, after all.


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Sarah Kossits

Concordia CA

Sarah is a 21-year-old journalism student in Montreal looking to break down some barriers and make a name for herself in the sports journalism world! She loves all things hockey, horses, and spends her free time reading as many books as she possibly can.
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