Photo cred - Olivier Benny
Public transportation in general is not exactly great, but winter just seems to bring out the worst of it. It's slow(er), it's dirty, already embittered people are even crankier than usual, and it's all confined in very tight spaces every day of the week.
But what're we to do? Even if we have a car to drive, the roads are a mess, traffic is a cluster-fuck and parking is an absolute nightmare. So, for better or worse, we bite the bullet and try, somehow, to get around and function like normal members of society in what is ultimately a form of public torture.
The slush-swamp that exists on bus and metro station floors.
Slush on city streets is already foul, but the concentration of salt-infused, shit-coloured sand-sludge that accumulates on the floors of buses and metro stations is like a scene straight out of Swamp Creature. It is nasty, and Buddha forbid you ever drop something, or worse, fall into that cesspool.
Photo cred - diluvienne
The struggle of trying to get your OPUS card out while wearing gloves.
Trying to dif out your OPUS card while wearing gloves is only made worse by the all the impatient commuters standing behind rushing you because no one likes a "slow-ass Steve". Once you've actually succeeded in getting your glove off and scanning your card, you've now lost your glove.
Photo cred - Jules Marchetti
The sweat fest that occurs thanks to all the layers of clothing you have to wear.
To survive outside when the mercury drops to -25 is to bundle up as much as possible to try and keep out the cold. Only trouble is, once you make it to the platform and you're waiting around for the metro, all those layers you piled on are now making you sweat balls.
Debate whether to hold on to the germ-infested poles, or leave yourself at the mercy of the driver.
Testing your skill as a no-hand metro surfer is a lot of fun, and only occasionally does the metro stop suddenly, sending you flying into somebody's crotch. That, or you take hold of the railing and catch H1N1. Think of it this way, at least you're guaranteed a sick day from work, right?
Bus stops with no covered shelters.
Not only do you have to battle your way through gusting winds, sleet, snow and ice, to actually get to the bus stop, you then have to wait there for a bus that may or may not ever come, outside and without shelter. Making things worse, you can't ever finger your phone to keep you occupied because it's too damn cold. Why do we live in this country again?
Waiting for that bus that may or may not ever come.
It doesn't matter that there's a schedule, or that you've checked the STM app twice, Montreal buses run on their own time in the winter and will often leave you stranded there wondering if maybe you just missed it, or if it will even ever come at all. So you stand there, hoping, staring longingly down the road as far as the eye can see, praying to god you will catch a glimpse of that bus in the distance that will take your sorry-ass home.
The many dangers and obstacles you face once the bus actually arrives.
Large slush puddles splashing you in the face, massive snow mounds piled up at the curb you have to carefully climb over, and treacherous black ice patches all await you at the exact spot the bus driver decides to open the doors. You know they do it on purpose.