Getting around in winter
Each winter our city is transformed. Weather conditions such as snow, ice and freezing rain can impact and delay our trips over several days. During bad weather, we put all our efforts toward avoiding any disruptions to service.
To ensure delivery of trips that have already been confirmed, we may have to put restrictions on new reservations for the next day.
We understand that it is perfectly legitimate for customers to want to make trips for a variety of reasons.However, we want to ensure delivery of the trips that we have already committed to.
The decision to restrict reservations is not taken lightly, and numerous factors are considered:
- Environment Canada weather forecasts, which we continuously monitor from 5 a.m.
- The accumulation of snow already on the ground
- The progress of snow removal in the various boroughs and cities within our territory.
- The number of reservations already planned for the next day, particularly during peak periods
- The estimated number of new trip reservations to be made
- The number of vehicles available during peak periods
Storms, freezing rain and heavy snow
In these winter conditions, several elements impact trip planning:
- Customer contact centre telephone lines are busier because we receive more calls from people wanting to cancel a trip or inform us of a delay.
- Despite having to allow more time than usual to deliver the same number of trips, we do not have extra vehicles available on bad weather days.
Here is an example of a minibus trip:
Our driver picks up Ms. Tremblay, then arrives at Mr. Cyr’s residence and finally goes to pick up Ms. Grenier two streets away. The three customers all go to the same destination. The trip usually takes 1 hour and 20 minutes, from picking up the first customer to dropping off all three at the same destination.
But on a snowy day, the same route could take 1 hour and 40 minutes just to deliver the first two customers. To limit delays, another driver will go and pick up the third customer. This means more time for each customer and an extra vehicle to transport the same number of customers. Now, imagine what would happen if we had more than 10,000 planned trips on a snowy day: the effect would be tenfold!
Even a small accumulation of snow on the ground can impact the Transport adapté service
Generally, the City of Montréal begins plowing the roads as soon as there is 2.5 centimetres of snow on the ground. Abrasives are used from the time when snowfall begins until it ends.
These operations are necessary for road safety, but they also impact traffic. Transport adapté must allow more time for each of its trips and provide more vehicles than normal to deliver the same number of trips.
Plan your trips
If you feel that conditions are less than optimal for heading outside, consider cancelling your trip as soon as possible.
If you are still going out, help us make your trip easier by ensuring your entryway is cleared of snow so that our driver can reach your door. Your destination should also be cleared.
Transport adapté and the City of Montréal work together on meeting customer needs with and without the limitations of snow removal operations on the sidewalks. Despite the City’s efforts, it may take more time to clear certain less-busy streets.
We understand that it is difficult to know whether your destination has been cleared of snow. If you are unsure, checking (if possible) a few hours beforehand could help you decide whether to go ahead with your trip to this location or postpone it.
Also, be advised that, in order to accommodate a greater number of paratransit service users, the reservations agent at the customer contact centre may suggest that you put off your trip to a later time, when it is less busy.
Whether travelling by car or public transit, you should expect delays and longer travel times during snowstorms and the days that follow. Rain or shine, our team always has the same goal: offer you reliable, punctual service.
Accessible bus service maintained in bad weather
Regardless of weather conditions, accessible bus service is always maintained. However, when you look outside, if you see that sidewalks are icy or covered with snow, it may prove difficult, if not impossible, to safely extend the bus ramp.
Visit stm.info when conditions take a turn for the worst. On the home page, you will see messages for wheelchair users on a blue background. Avoid bad experiences by taking the time to get all the information before leaving.
Based on the number of centimetres of snow or freezing rain on the ground, snow removal operations can take several days and disrupt traffic on the roads. These operations sometimes differ in various parts of the city, and certain streets where our customers live may be the last to be plowed. In these conditions, more time than usual should be allowed when using the roads.
We have to make decisions in advance to plan all the requested trips that have already been confirmed. All reservations for a day are made on the assumption that our vehicles will be able to travel at their normal speed. The day before the expected snowfall, we have to plan for reduced trip speeds for our vehicles, which disrupts the trips already planned and increases the number of vehicles required to ensure the service.
Before applying restrictions, we consider several factors to assess the type of restriction required. Several restrictions are possible based on factors such as road conditions, weather forecasts and the number of available vehicles.
Here are some examples of messages that you might hear this winter when you make your reservation:
Customer notice, Du to the bad weather conditions forecast, Please take note that for DATE, all new transport requests during the « rush hour period ». Could be delayed or even cancelled, except for medical, work or school motives. All other scheduled transportation already confirmed will be maintained. For your safety and easier travel, please ensure that pick-up and drop-off locations are cleared and safe. Delays are to be expected on all transportation requests. We thank you for your understanding.
Customer notice, Due to bad weather conditions, please take note that for DATE, no new transportation requests will be accepted. All other scheduled transportation already confirmed will be maintained. For your safety and easier travel, please ensure that pick-up and drop-off locations are cleared and safe. Delays are to be expected on all transportation requests. We thank you for your understanding.
Customer notice, Due to bad weather conditions announced, delays are to be expected for all transportation requests. For your safety, and easier travel please ensure that pick-up and drop-off locations are cleared and safe. We are sorry for the inconvenience and we hope to be able to restore service as soon as possible. We thank you for your understanding.
We understand that it is difficult to know whether your destination has been cleared of snow, especially if it is a public place. If you are unsure, checking (if possible) that the entrance has been cleared could help you decide whether to go ahead with your trip to this location or postpone it.
All trips are planned using a software program equipped with a powerful algorithm. It calculates and selects the best route option by considering several parameters in line with the specific travel conditions of each customer. Everything is taken into account: boarding time, additional time needed for certain mobility aids, estimated traffic volume. Of course, in addition to computing all this, we must also check the possibility of combining trips with other paratransit service customers who travel in the same area as you, because paratransit is public transportation after all.
In short, we methodically plan your trip using a set of parameters to ensure your trip is provided in the scheduled timeframe.