by Kevin Gould
2016 – 2015
La Presse: Chapleau & others
Le Devoir: Garnotte & Fleg
Journal de Montréal: Beaudet & Ygreck
The green line is down between Atwater and Viau.
TC, Blork, Matt, and 11 others are discussing. Toggle Comments
I can always tell when a line is down because the lineups for the bus are insane. It’s a good barometer.
It’s back up now!
It would be interesting to track how many hours per year the metro system is not fully operational. Last year was either particularly bad or I was especially unlucky.
2012 was a fairly bad year for the metro, as noted in this blog last month. But it’s equally possible to have used the metro fairly often, as I do, and hardly have seen a problem. Matter of luck and timing.
Michel, I know what you mean – when I saw a long line of people waiting for the 30 bus around 18:00 a few weeks ago I knew instantly the orange line had to be down.
At least they Tweeted an apology “Our apologies for any inconvenience caused”. I like the “any”- as if a major Metro shut down at rush hour on a Monday morning would be anything bit inconvenient!!
What’s more worrisome is the fact that the “système d’alimentation” seems to be at fault a little more than I remember. Problems?
They started advertising themselves much more aggressively a few years ago. I wonder how big a bite the ongoing publicity campaigns take out of the budget? It has always seemed pointless to me for the STM to advertise itself when it enjoys a monopoly. Even more pointless to spend money on advertising when it seems that electrical and mechanical failures bad enough to cause system-wide delays are regular occurrences.
Those things have been rolling since the 60s. Am I the only once who is surprised (if not impressed) that they don’t break down more often? If the alternative is a car, which will cost you $20,000 plus gas and won’t survive the rust-inducing conditions of the city for more than 8-9 years, the extremely occasional hour-or-so wait for golden-age’d metro car is hardly an inconvenience.
Plus, if you’re late for work, I think a broken metro is more of a valid excuse than a broken car. Not that it’ll always help, but at least you can’t be expected to maintain your own metro.
I’m confused by the advertising as well. Not just because of the monopoly thing but because the STM seems to have as many passengers as they can handlle (at least during peak periods).
I agree that it’s impressive how little it breaks down considering the age of the trains. I’m also impressed by how well the STM generally manages major break-downs.
Compare it to what happened in DC a little while ago as described here: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/02/one-worst-mass-transit-commute-horror-stories-you-will-ever-read/4576/
The compare THAT to what NYC commuters say in the comments about their (much worse) horror stories on their Subway.
The rolling stock itself is actually quite reliable, much more than what it is getting credit for in some of the comments. A “panne d’alimentation”, “panne d’ordinateur” and “panne du système de communication” are all independent of the rolling stock.
@tux: they get their advertising money by putting up large billboards with cars in the metro. makes me wonder if only the advertising companies profit from that.
Tux, actually you can see from this set of transit ads from the 1930s and 40s (Facebook, but openly accessible) that the transit commission has always advertised a fair bit. After the STM posted these in 2011 I was curious and looked up the English equivalents in the Google news archive of the Gazette – and found a few others too.
That said, I think the STM is in the grip of some agency that’s a little too marketing-minded. The STM definitely needs to do some advertising – to tell us about new services or new offerings, alert us to hazards or changes in routes, all kinds of things, but not to “build the brand” as the article of faith goes in modern marketing because, as you say, it’s a monopoly and there’s a limit to the usefulness of doing this. (On the other hand, it’s an unusual monopoly, and arguably it’s in permanent competition with the blandishment of private vehicles.)
The Sid Lee spokeswoman in that piece talked about making Berri-UQAM the “flagship of the STM brand.” That’s rank and utter nonsense.
This is one of the major advantages of a street-level tramway over subway: less likely to have the entire system shut down because of a local event. For me, this has meant that I don’t take the metro anymore because… I teach at 8 am. This morning, my first class was student-free.
I think it’s time for the STM start a loyalty program where they stamp your OPUS card every time there is a major metro shutdown. So if you’re involved in 5 of them you get a month free.
The advertising thing has its benefits. I don’t have anything concrete to link to, but compare public opinion of the STM from 15 years ago to what it is today. I’d rather see some of the STM’s messages than another podiatry clinic piece of trash.
While I agree that the Sid Lee stuff is a bit much, it’s not entirely true that the STM has no need to advertise. While it might have a monopoly on subway and bus lines, it definitely has “competition” for ridership from taxis, private cars, and even bicycles. So the pitch isn’t “take our Metro instead of the other guy’s Metro” it’s “take the Metro instead of driving/biking/taxiing, etc.”
I haven’t read the profile piece on the ad campaign, but I suspect they found there was some amount of negative feelings towards public transit among some people (as Matt says, above), so the mission is to make using the STM seem like a natural and happy part of being a Montrealer. (It is for many — myself included — but it’s not so for everyone.)
Overall I am very impressed with how well the STM subway cars keep rolling along. Fifty-plus years is impressive. Not so sure an advertising campaign really helps compared to word of mouth from riders. Here in Boston when they added countdown clocks rider satisfaction jumped by 15% literally overnight, measured from the day before they were installed to the day after.
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