April 17, 2024

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Montreal Metro |  World champion in user-induced breakdowns

Montreal Metro | World champion in user-induced breakdowns

The Montreal metro has the highest number of service interruptions by customers worldwide, international data reveals. These again highlight the importance of a future screen door system, which is still on ice.


Almost 52% of breakdowns in the Montreal metro are actually caused by passengers or staff. This is shown in a document of the Société de transport de Montreal (STM) dated February 13 assessing “Performance in an international environment”. A law respecting access to documents held by public bodies.

The average for member metros of the COMET group, 45 metropolitan metros in 41 cities, is significantly lower at 27%. In Europe and North America alone the figure is 40%.

Among comparable metropolitan areas in the world, the transit agency is one of the only ones without a platform screen door system. “We're an endangered species,” Simon Carrow, the carrier's corporate government relations consultant, explains in an interview.

We know everyone loves landing doors. But it is a question of priority. The first is to ensure good health of the existing infrastructure.

Simon Carro is Corporate Advisor in Government Relations at STM

“In five years, the amount for maintenance of properties in the government has decreased by 20%,” said Mr. Garrow expressed regret. “We're not heading in the right direction toward landing doors,” says Mr. Caro.

According to him, most metros with such a system have “implemented it from the beginning”, like the Réseau express metropolitain (REM). “It takes a lot of work and resources to install it on an existing network,” he notes.

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Immediate effect

Officially, the idea of ​​equipping the Montreal metro with screen doors has been put on hold until 2022 due to the transportation company's difficult financial situation. About 200 million was promised by Quebec to implement the project.

However, in its latest budget, the STM has earmarked 5 million “for the study of the project in 2032”, taking into account the estimated recovery in ridership and future major projects such as the extension. Blue Line to Anjou and Eastern Structural Project (PSE).

According to Patrick Hamelin, STM's director of planning, bus and metro operations, the system of platform doors will reduce the number of user-related breakdowns from 52% to “around 30%”.

“We can cut the number of customer incidents almost in half, and really make a significant impact. Our longest incidents, like violent death attempts, tunnel intrusions, etc., will all go down dramatically,” he says.

To date, Metro's general reliability has been very respectable. STM is ranked 16th so fare In about thirty metros, the proportion of metro journeys made without delay, i.e. five minutes or less, was assessed.

In North America alone, the Montreal company ranks second on this list. “We suspect there are systems below us, mainly with landing doors,” said Mr. Caro notes.

The urgent need to replace the MR-73s

Out of a total of 40 metropolitan areas analyzed, Montreal ranked 22nde In terms of rolling stock reliability, i.e. the average distance traveled between each breakdown. Since 2020, due to the aging of MR-73 trains, there has been a decline in equipment reliability.

Photo by Martin Chamberland, La Presse Archives

MR-73 metro car under maintenance

These can be driven for an average distance of 150,000 km. The new Azure trains, for their part, cover up to 1.5 million kilometers.

In short, time is running out, especially since the MR-73 trains will reach the end of their useful lives by 2036. “What we are asking the government is to start investigations. The bell has rung and we have to start this project,” says Marie-Claude Leonard, STM's general director.

His team estimates that the replacement plan for these trains is only 2.9 billion to get the new Azure trains.

Another billion should be earmarked for maintenance garages and replacement of equipment in the train control system.

Meanwhile, the bus network needs to “operate on time, especially in the short term,” says Mme Leonard. According to the documents, a Montreal bus arrives on time 81.4% of the time. A bus travels at an average of 17 to 18 kilometers per hour, good for 7e A ranking of 16 comparable companies.

However, this number has continued to decline since 2014, increasing operating costs. Ultimately, the company says a return to business speeds of 2014 levels would allow savings of 22.5 million, which would rely on the proliferation of dedicated lanes to bring buses as close together as possible.

With William Leclerc, Pres