The STM’s plan for the gradual lifting of lockdown: Cooperation is crucial

Press release

The STM presents its plan to accommodate customers who will be gradually returning to its network due to the lifting of lockdown beginning May 19

Montréal, May 8, 2020 — The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is accelerating the implementation of measures to accommodate customers who will be gradually returning to its network due to the lifting of lockdown beginning May 19. The STM and its employees are working hard to meet this major challenge, as activities are resuming during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A specific eplan has been prepared to improve protection for customers and employees in accordance with public health and CNESST recommendations.

“We ask that everyone be responsible and demonstrate teamwork,” says Luc Tremblay, CEO of the STM. “We all have a role to play, whether that means implementing special measures, following guidelines or adopting new behaviours.”

Changes to services

Train frequency on all métro lines is back to regular levels. The level of bus service is similar to our normal summer service, with 1,225 buses on the road during peak periods and additional vehicles as reinforcements. Although ridership is currently much lower than before the pandemic, service has been optimized to continue to minimize overcrowding and promote physical distancing for a certain period of time, as well as meet customer’s travel needs, while taking our resource planning into account. Despite these adjustments, increased ridership in connection with the acceleration of lockdown lifting will make maintaining adequate physical distancing challenging during peak periods. For this reason, wearing face coverings is strongly recommended.

As a sense of safety is an important condition for the use of public transit, a new cohort of inspectors has joined the security and control team. They are supported by community workers from Société de développement social de Ville-Marie (SDS)

Paratransit services are being maintained, even though demand is much lower than usual. Special precautions are in place to protect employees and customers, including protective gear for drivers and a physical barrier between drivers and clients on sedan-taxis.

Workplace measures
In accordance with the COVID-19 guide for workplace health measures in the public transit sector and the guide for construction sites, the STM has implemented special measures in workspaces so that employees can perform their tasks safely. This matter is of constant concern for the STM as an employer. Measures in place include the installation of plexiglass at service and store counters in bus garages, special rules to limit the number of people in common areas, and stickers on floors to encourage physical distancing.

In addition to maintaining a 2 meters distance behind the driver, the STM is also working with unions to install a physical barrier to make driver’s areas safer. As buses are equipped with barriers and driver’s areas become protected, boarding at the front of the bus will resume and we will begin validating fares again. Also, clients will circulate in the bus in a one-way fashion, boarding from the front and exiting from the back.

Continuation of increased cleaning
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the STM has adapted its cleaning measures and increased cleaning frequency in its vehicles, public areas and workplaces. These special measures, guided by the STM’s steadfast focus on minimizing the risk of COVID-19 for its users and staff, will be maintained. Over 60 student employees have been called in to lend a hand, hiring has been sped up and nearly 170 office employees are stepping in as reinforcements for our maintenance teams. They will soon be joined by 200 professionals. The STM wishes to highlight the cooperation and solidarity demonstrated by the vast majority of its unions.

Also, the STM voluntarily slowed down roughly 60 projects to help free up additional human resources, while also getting help from managers.

Flattening the curve … of ridership
In mid-April, the STM began speaking with business and public health representatives to prepare for the post-lockdown period on its transit network. To help flatten peak periods of ridership on the network, the STM is working closely with the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, city administration and public health authorities to encourage businesses to implement new measures, including maintaining remote work and adjusting work schedules. The STM is leading by example by encouraging its employees who can work from home to do so for as long as possible.

With summer approaching, Montrealers are also encouraged to take advantage of the many sustainable mobility options at their disposal.

“Let’s take care of each other” by adopting new habits
The STM strongly recommends that its customers wear face coverings or homemade masks when travelling on public transit, in line with official recommendations. To encourage this practice, the STM will work with the City of Montréal, ARTM, exo, the RTL and the STL to distribute face coverings to its customers. The STM will also provide two washable face coverings to staff members who request them.

This is an additional precautionary measure for employees and customers to take in public spaces. It must be paired with other protective measures (physical distancing, coughing into the elbow, washing hands frequently, staying at home if being sick, etc.). Cleaning your hands upon entering or exiting the métro or taking the bus is a simple but crucial action that needs to be incorporated into our daily routines. To help, the STM has already installed 125 automatic hand sanitizer distributors. An additional 99 distributors will be installed in all métro stations between now and mid-May.

Other measures are also being proposed, such as the option to pay with debit/credit in the métro or the implementation of a ridership indicator to help users plan their trips.

With the goal of helping its users adjust to all these changes and maintain a positive travel experience despite this unprecedented situation, the STM will conduct an extensive communications campaign, including signage throughout the network and social media posts.

“We are no longer taking the bus and métro in the same way. But what hasn’t changed is that public transit is always the sustainable choice for our planet’s future,” concludes Philippe Schnobb, Chairman of the Board of the STM. “We will be there to support our customers throughout their journey on our network. Let’s show solidarity, take care of each other and work together to get used to the new normal on our transit network.”


Affiche sur le port du couvre-visage

Tableau synthèse du plan de déconfinement

Photos des opérations de nettoyage - Crédit : Julien Perron-Gagné




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