Photo cred - Flickr
As anyone who commutes in this city knows, the entire metro system was down this morning. The shutdown was made worse by the fact that it’s the beginning of the month, so commuters were already running late from waiting in line to recharge their OPUS cards at the two charging machines there are at each station. This seems like it happens at least once a month but this time the STM says it has to do with a failure in the ventilation system. Whatever the reason is, we Montrealers have a love-hate relationship with our metro system. When it works, it’s one of the best in Canada. When it’s down, it’s the source of rage for hundreds of thousands of commuters.
Pro: Regular schedule
When it is actually running, the metro comes pretty regularly. You usually don’t have to wait more than a few minutes before it shows up. Okay, it may not be as on point as the Japanese system, but still, it's not that bad. What is cool though is that STM has a Twitter account for each metro line to let commuters know if there is a problem with the system. So tomorrow make sure to check your Twitter feed before heading out.
Con: Down again
But let’s be real, you don't always have time to check your Twitter account. You're running late and you depend on the metro to be there to take you to work. When it doesn’t show up on time, it almost seems worth it to just walk to work or school every morning. You'd probably get there before metro was back up and running anyway.
This time it was the ventilation system, other times commuters have no idea why they’re waiting 20 minutes for the metro. Worst of all was last May when there were seven interruptions in the span of a week. That’s just ridiculous.
Pro: Technologically advanced
A few of the metro stations downtown already have flat screen TVs with current news, weather updates and the train schedule. With the recent news that wireless Internet is coming to the metro stations and underground tunnels in a few years, Montreal has some pretty tech savvy metro stations. Just imagine: in a few years, Montrealers will be able to troll the Internet while they wait for STM to get their act together.
Con: It's gettin' hot in here...
When the metro does show up, it’s a pretty uncomfortable experience. The straight back seats don’t have any cushions and it’s always hot and stuffy. There is nothing worse than getting on the metro and having to stand under those circular vents that blow hot air right onto your face. Whether it’s summer or winter you always get off the metro with your shirt sticking to the sweat on your back. Gross.
Pro: Covers the entire city
You have to admit the metro system does get you pretty much wherever you need to go in the city. It’s pretty impressive given that Mont Royal is smack in the middle of the island. Anywhere you can’t get by the metro is accessible by bus, so you’re covered no matter what. Compared to other metro systems in Canada (ahem…Toronto) the metro system is pretty good.
What do you think of the Montreal metro system? How late were you to work/school today?