Montreal has had a brutal winter. Alternating periods of freezing and thawing temperatures have made the city an at-times icy, at-times slushy messy. An endless barrage of snow has additionally made roads and sidewalks particularly treacherous this year.
Despite what sometimes may feel like inaction when it comes to hazardous roads and accessibility issues, this year, the Montreal City Council has taken note of Montralers' winter woes. That's why councilors filed a motion today that calls on municipalities in the metro area and the regional transit authority to explore the possibility of making public transportation free after snowstorms.
TL;DR A motion from the Montreal City Council calls on regional authorities to study the possibility of free transit after 20cm snowstorms, according to Radio-Canada.
According to Radio-Canada, the motion had originally called on just the transit authority to study occassional free transit, but a late addition expanded its scope to include transit in suburbs like Laval and Longueuil.
20cm of snow would be the threshold that, ideally, triggers a temporary elimination of fare.
The goal of the motion is to get people off icy roads following a major weather event. Though the details of the program, like how the STM would pay for free service and handle an influx of riders on its already-overburdened system, are unspecified.
While the motion was passed unanimously by the City Council, it will have no tangible consequences for commuters. Officials will need to study the feasibility of free transit, which could take awhile.
Still, the initiative is refreshing for both a council and transit agency that many feel can be obstinate and unresponsive.
The STM already offers multiple benefits for riders, including occassional all-night service, trains every 5 minutes during peak hours, and, compared to other cities in North America, relatively cheap fare. The corporation has a bad reputation not (primarily) because of poor service, but because it is sometimes unable to meet demand with its limited resources.
Stay tuned for more STM news.