STM and partners win Rail Security Gold Award for Heavy Rail from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

Press release

Montréal, November 9, 2021 – The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and its partners, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), the Société de développement social (SDS) and the Old Brewery Mission (OBM), are proud to announce that their 2020 winter plan has earned them the Rail Security Gold Award for Heavy Rail from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Granted at APTA’s annual conference, held this year in Florida, the award recognizes initiatives by APTA members for implementing noteworthy programs or activities that improve the safety and security of their customers.

The winter plan was implemented in response to issues related to the complex social situation of people experiencing homelessness, which was exacerbated by the pandemic and involves many civil society stakeholders. Drawing on more than a decade of collaboration, the STM Security and Control department, the SPVM and their partners in community organizations worked together to enhance the program. The main improvements were adding a hybrid patrol in partnership with the SPVM and the SDS, providing a bus with the OBM for people in need to take shelter from the winter cold, and creating a shadowing experience program for inspectors to remind them of the importance of remaining empathetic during daily responses.

The financial contribution of Info-Crime Montréal was also instrumental in the creation of the Équipe métro d’intervention et de concertation (ÉMIC), an important part of the winter plan.

“We are extremely proud to receive this prize,” says Philippe Schnobb, Chair of the STM Board of Directors. “It represents a nod of recognition from our peers for the major collaboration between us and our partners that created the 2020-21 winter plan! By leveraging the strengths and mandates of the stakeholders present in our network, we were able to deliver consistent, empathy-driven interventions, which benefits everyone.”

“The work our joint teams do on the ground is a great source of pride for the SPVM,” says Sylvain Caron, Director of the SPVM. “The commitment demonstrated by our officers and their colleagues from the STM and the SDS is an honour to all our respective organizations. Together, they have been able to help people in vulnerable situations whose journeys have been very touching. This award from APTA for the winter plan also highlights the excellent results that we were able to deliver through dialogue and cooperation.”

“We are delighted by this recognition from APTA,” says James Hughes, President and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission. “Last winter, the Solidaribus transported over 12,000 passengers to shelters and other resources. The bus not only provided safe transportation for homeless people but also became a supportive place where the most vulnerable residents of our city could be accompanied to services that suit their needs. We would like to thank our partners for their continued commitment to this initiative.”

“Year after year, we are reassured by the success of actions that help ease the burden on vulnerable people, and transit network safety has been an effective collaboration between many institutions and community organizations in the area,” says François Raymond, General Director of the SDS. “We have always believed in the effectiveness of dialogue between stakeholders on the ground, and this award from APTA is a testament to that. Thanks to the joint teams composed of STM inspectors and SDS workers, as well as the ÉMIC project, which was built on collaboration between the STM, SPVM and SDS, front-line and backup interventions have both become more kind, and we have worked toward our goal of finding a comprehensive, adaptive and sustainable solution for vulnerable customers in a variety of situations. We would like to thank all our institutional and community partners, who have shown incredible openness and practicality in dealing with this particularly complex issue.”

The winter plan was developed to provide an increased presence of security teams in the métro network’s 68 stations, with the goal of making it safer for customers to travel while supporting people experiencing homelessness in accessing appropriate resources. The initiatives deployed last year will continue in the coming weeks and, as temperatures drop, they will be enhanced.

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