Masks: the STM will build on the awareness rather than fines

Masques: la STM misera sur la sensibilisation plutôt que les amendes

Photo: Marie-France Coallier Archives The Duty
As of 13 July, the port of the cover face will be mandatory for all users of public transport in Quebec.

As of Monday, wearing a mask will be mandatory in the buses and the subway, but rather than kick the passengers recalcitrant or deliver statements of offence, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) will be distributing a cover faces and will make awareness among the customers.

At the present time, the STM is estimated that 60 % of users who wear a mask, so that these were very rare at the beginning of the month of may.

The ministerial order intended to regulate the wearing of mask in public transit has not yet been published, which still leaves several questions unanswered regarding the application of the new rules, has recognized Philippe Schnobb, chairman of the board of directors of the STM, during a press conference on Friday. “Our attitude is to make it easy. We will distribute covers-faces, ” he said.

The agents in the stations, as well as the inspectors will deliver to users who do not have. Until now, 235 000 covers-faces have been provided to users since the beginning of the pandemic. By the fall, the STM is estimated that 1.5 million of them have been distributed in the Greater Montreal area.

The STM does not require its drivers that they send off the passengers who would not carry a mask, or that would accrue in the course of the trip. She will not refuse access to those who would have the face uncovered. “It can be complex to apply a similar measure. This is why it will be important to see what is written in the decree, ” said Philippe Schnobb.

The STM intends to instead build on an awareness campaign to encourage users to wear a cover face. The operation provides for display in the subway and buses as well as the broadcasting messages in the vehicle.

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Recall that last June 30, the prime minister François Legault announced that as of 13 July, the port of the cover-face would be mandatory for all users of public transport in Quebec 12 years of age and older. The government provides a period of grace of 14 days. The prime minister had then stated that from 27 July, users without a mask may not have access to buses and the subway. It was also noted that no fine would be imposed on the offenders. The ministerial order is still awaited.

Boarding from the front

The STM has also announced that the boarding by the front in its buses and the perception of securities would resume as of July 20, on 43 lines serving the city centre. Partitions polycarbonate have been installed in a part of its fleet of buses to protect drivers. All buses should be equipped with these panels by the beginning of the month of August, an operation which will cost $2.8 million.

A distance of two metres between the small island of the driver and the passengers must be maintained. Thus, the seat located behind the driver and will not be used. And passengers will be required to walk to the front of the vehicle towards the rear and not be able to get off of the bus by the front door.

The income of the STM have melted since the beginning of the pandemic. At the height of the crisis, ridership had dropped by 90 %. It is on the rise since the beginning of the déconfinement, but the director-general Luc Tremblay admits that the expenditure will have to be compressed. He dismisses, however, the possibility of reducing services for the moment. “It is sure that there will be efforts to do so. You can’t lose 90 % of our income and have no impact “, he said.

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