• Because the COVID-19 outbreak has slashed its ridership, the STM is reducing service across its network.
  • The changes will take effect on March 30.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the STM is reducing service on all its networks including the bus, metro, and paratransit. The downtick in service will happen as of March 30 and will continue for an undetermined amount of time. The STM says that there's been a "major decrease in ridership" since the outbreak of COVID-19, with an almost 75% decrease in bus ridership. 

For the metro network, peak service times will be reduced by 20%. According to the STM, the number of customers crossing at metro turnstiles has reduced by more than 80%. 

Waiting time during rush hour on the orange and green lines will increase to a little over four minutes. Times on the blue and yellow lines will remain the same. Finally, metro opening hours won't change. 

The peak service on the bus network will be reduced by 20% compared to last year, with a focus on high-frequency lines.

Paratransit services have also been greatly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Requests for paratransit have decreased by more than 85%. Several measures are in place to protect the health of riders and bus drivers. 

The STM suggested that customers travel outside of peak hours during the pandemic and it seems that Montrealers are heeding the advice. 

Social distancing and staying home are cited among the most effective measures to prevent further spread of the virus. 

This news comes after Montreal's exo train lines also reduced hours.

In both Montreal and Laval, meanwhile, bus drivers are now asking passengers to enter from the back of the bus.

The RTC network in Quebec City will also apply similar measures beginning on March 30. 

People seem to be avoiding taking public transit, though. In Montreal, buses and metros have frequently made headlines as potential COVID-19 exposure sites. 


READ ALSO: A South Shore Bus Driver Has Tested Positive For COVID-19

Even though the STM stepped up its cleaning and disinfecting efforts over the past few weeks, some people are demanding that the government close the metros altogether. 

An online petition to close the metro has gained over 9,500 signatures and counting. 

But both the STM and Premier Legault are pushing back, pointing out that health care and essential services workers would still need a way to commute.

"We couldn't afford for these people not to be able to get to work," he said in a public briefing on March 14.

It's unknown when STM ridership will pick back up and allow the company to restore regular service.

Non-essential services in Quebec will remain closed until April 13, thwarting Montrealer's usual need to make trips across the city. Schools will not reopen until May.

Stay tuned for updates.

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