News  STM throws third ever metro allnighter

The Société de Trasportation de Montréal (STM) helped Montrealers celebrate the city’s sixth annual Nuit Blanche by staying open all night long to facilitate travel around the festival’s attractions.

Although Montreal’s 172 daytime bus routes stopped running at the usual time – around 1:30 a.m., with some routes ending earlier or only running on weekdays – the STM’s underground subway service ran in tandem with 20 night bus lines throughout the night, the third time in the metro’s 43-year history.

Marvin Rotrand, vice-chairman of the STM board of directors, highlighted the significance of providing all night metro service in a press release.

“Throughout its long history, the metro has stayed open all night only twice. The first time was during the storm of the century, March 4, 1971, while the second time was for the countdown to the year 2000. I can tell you without hesitation that allowing the metro to run all night is truly an exceptional gesture, any way you look at it,” Rotrand said.

The STM also leased 15 buses at a special low price to shuttle festival patrons from one location to another. The metro stations themselves also became attractions, providing many local artists space for art installations.

Margaret Miller, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada, thought the all night service provided an important alternative to the drowsy festival patrons.

“Whenever a service becomes available to someone who has been drinking, it gives them more options, and when people have other options, they make use of them and don’t drive,” she said.

Miller felt Montreal’s roads could be much safer if the nighttime services were expanded or offered more frequently, because it would reduce the chances that intoxicated drivers are behind the wheel.

“The easier we make it for them to get a safe ride home, the less likely they are to be behind the wheel. More options prevents deaths and injuries because people don’t have to make alternate arrangements or take risks.”

The STM normally performs maintenance on the aging metro stations, tunnels, and cars, mostly when the metro and daytime bus system is closed – starting between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., depending on the station, route, and day, and ending around 5:30 a.m. The nighttime bus network, originally designed for employees to reach their starting locations and then opened to the public in 1988, runs 20 routes while the metro and daytime bus system is closed, mostly on intervals of 45 to 60 minutes.