Despite recent criticism and controversy surrounding intervention strategies, the STM is still moving ahead with its plan to grant officers "special constable designation" subject to the Police Act and the Commissaire à la déontologie policière as of July 2021.
MTL Blog reached out to the STM to find out more about these plans and how they will affect customer relations moving forward.
What are these powers and how will they affect me?
STM officers will soon have a more expanded role in interventions. These powers will grant them the right to arrest people "on reasonable grounds [...] in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code and intervene in the case of a person suspected of harassment."
In addition, the STM tells MTL Blog that officers will be able to intervene in case of a traffic infraction near metro and bus stations "where reserved lanes or terminals are blocked by illegally parked vehicles."
According to an independent report conducted by the Centre international de criminologie comparée at Université de Montréal, STM officers will not be allowed to carry weapons such as pistols, TAZERs, or pepper spray.
They claim these powers were established to help provide "a sense of safety and by ensuring smooth travel for customers."
Why is the STM granting special powers to its inspectors?
According to the STM, "obtaining the designation of special constable will give inspectors the tools they need to participate more actively in improving customer experience."
The company insists that "the change will bring more robust accountability" as the inspectors will be subject to the rules and regulations of the Police Act.
What this means that if anything questionable should happen during an intervention, the "Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes will be able to take over investigations in accordance with the Act."
This change will be done "progressively" and the company will host public information sessions before fully implementing these new powers.
Why is the STM under so much scrutiny?
On April 17, a video of two STM officers arresting and striking a Black woman at Jean-Talon metro after she allegedly didn't pay her $3.50 fare surfaced online and raised questions of why such heavy force was required.
The STM alleged that the use of force was appropriate according to its model of engagement.
Montreal pro tip: don't do your hair until after you're off the metro. Montrealers know the struggle of using all their body weight to force open their metro station's doors only to get smacked in the face by a blinding gust of wind that smells like the city's stale, dusty bowels.
So why does entering an STM metro station feel like an amusement park ride? The transit company took to Instagram to share the answer in an eye-opening explainer video on its ventilation system and methods.
The wind, the STM says, is due to what's called "the piston effect."
"In the public areas of metro stations, there's no ventilation system in the buildings, themselves," STM engineer Annie Mcken explains in the video.
"Instead, the circulation of the trains ensures more-than-adequate ventilation and sufficient air change in the stations."
When trains move through stations, Mcken continues, they displace air, which then pushes its way outside or in — this is the piston effect.
This, plus what the STM says are more than 150 ventilation shafts and 90 mechanical ventilation stations, are enough for the network, Mcken concludes.
The piston effect in the Montreal metro is, of course, well-documented and has been widely reported.
It also explains why the STM has those unique "butterfly" doors.
In an online document, the company says the famous doors on a fixed central axis facilitate airflow in and out of stations, reducing resistance and making it easier for riders to enter or exit.
The STM's Instagram video on ventilation also explains how metro trains, buses and adapted transport vehicles are designed to refresh the air.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
SPVM spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant explained that "a man presented himself without saying anything to the employee from the STM started to hit the window with what looked like a hammer. From there — when he was finished — he left by foot," leaving behind approximately $5,000 in damages.
The STM employee told the Montreal police that they had no altercations with the man and were not harmed during the incident.
Brabant said the SPVM is still trying to figure out why this event occurred and told MTL Blog that investigators have yet to identify the suspect but are using the footage from surveillance cameras in the metro to try and do so.
If you want a visual of what the damage looked like, Étienne Fortin-Gauthier shared a video on Twitter of the metro after the hammer attack.
Videos posted to Instagram and TikTok show someone recruiting Montreal metro riders to engage in Squid Game-like activities — minus the bloodshed.
The hit Netflix show follows a group of contestants competing for prize money in deadly versions of children's games. The main character, Gi-hun, joins the competition after a recruiter wearing a suit approaches him in the metro.
The Instagram and TikTok videos show a similarly-dressed individual engaging with STM riders and playing some of the games featured in the show.
Contacted by MTL Blog, the person behind the social media accounts declined to identify themselves but said they're developing more content for their channels.
They also said they've given prizes to some players in the form of $50 and $100 Amazon gift cards — much more modest than the ₩45,600,000,000 (about CA$48,021,177.60, according to Google) grand prize in the Netflix show.
"I'm doing these videos because I'm having a lot of fun creating unique experiences for people," the account owner told MTL Blog. "Seeing the enlightment on the face of the participants, the people around and the reactions from the videos make it all worthwhile!"