The plan to rename 19 of Montreal's Metro stations to reflect the city’s toponymy guidelines hasn't been approved by the STM board, says chairman Philippe Schnobb.
He sat down with CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty to talk about penalizing Bombardier-Alstom for the delay in delivering the new Metro cars, making changes to the OPUS card system and the STM board's decision to rename some Metro stations.
Mike Finnerty: We are going to get these new AZUR Metro cars one day — they’re late! There’s been apparently a vote — La Presse reported this — not to penalize Bombardier-Alstom for the lateness.
Philippe Schnobb: We will, we will. We only decided to wait until the time was good to do the process. We decided it wasn’t the right timing now to start arguing legally about who’s responsible for this and this and what the final sum would be. So we decided, let’s concentrate on the technical issues, let’s get the trains on the tracks and when everything will be settled, then we will know exactly what the amount is we’re talking about. [...] We still continue to calculate and we know exactly how much money we could ask.
MF: Because it was put into the contract for a reason, and it’s a way to get leverage on them to get those cars on the tracks. They are on the tracks, though, aren’t they?
PS: It is. There is one train on the tracks, it’s being tested during the night. The next step will be tests during the day. The problem is, one spokesperson for Bombardier was quoted in the [La Presse] article yesterday saying there’s a problem with the integration of the train controls, the brain of the train.
MF: Do you know what date it’s going to be ready?
PS: You should ask Bombardier. I don’t know where they are in the process of that software.
MF: Are you going to get rid of the OPUS card already?
PS: No, that’s not in the plans. What the plan is, is to let people at the beginning of 2015 to get a little device — we would prefer this to be wireless, but they will need a USB device — people would put the card in it at home and they will be able to recharge the card from their own computer.
We have some project of a virtual OPUS card but that’s not ready yet. It’s not because we’re not ready, it’s because the technology is not ready.
MF: Can I ask you about the changes to the names of the Metro stations which apparently went through the board…
PS: Actually, it didn’t go through the board. What I can tell you about that is, that it didn’t go through the board. It will go through the board next week. I’ll let the board have a discussion about that. I have my own ideas about that, but I’ll let the board decide.
MF: So it’s not a done deal?
PS: Actually, considering that the board hasn’t been made aware of the situation, I asked that we have that on the agenda for next week’s board.
MF: Could you vote it down, potentially?
PS: Well actually we will look at every option, and that will be made public as soon as the decision is made.
MF: It seems like adding extra verbiage where you don’t need it. I’m thinking the Paris Metro has a Champ-de-Mars, and it’s Champ-de-Mars, very clear. And yet here in Montreal, we have Champ-de-Mars and someone wants to add du Champ-de-Mars. Do you think it’s necessary?
PS: [Laughs] You won’t be satisfied, but I’ll keep my comments for next week. I’ll be very happy to come back Tuesday morning to talk openly about it.
MF: It does sound like you have some doubts about this.
PS: Well, we will see.