Montreal makes bid to improve Metro accessibility

In a bid to improve the Metro's accessibility, Montreal's transit authority will be installing elevators in 14 more of its stations by 2022. The STM has faced criticism from activists who argue lack of accessibility violates the rights of people with reduced mobility.

14 more stations to get elevators by 2022

(Charles Contant/CBC)

In a bid to improve the Montreal Metro's accessibility, Montreal's transit authority will install elevators in 14 more of its stations.

The STM announced the $213-million project this morning. The money will come from both the provincial and federal governments.

The 14 stations that will get elevators are:

  • Jean-Talon (A transfer station, Jean-Talon will now be accessible from both the blue and orange lines).
  • Jean-Drapeau
  • Angrignon
  • Jolicoeur
  • Place-des-Arts
  • Namur
  • Outremont
  • Université de Montréal
  • Radisson
  • Place-Saint-Henri
  • Préfontaine
  • McGill
  • Villa-Maria
  • D'Iberville

Part of the the money is from a previously announced $775 million investment by the federal government into public transit infrastructure in the Montreal area.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the project confirms the city's commitment to improving accessibility. 

"I think we're sending a very, very strong message about the way we want to invest," Coderre said. 

Fully accessible by 2038

The stations were chosen based on how easy it would be to install elevators and based on balancing accessibility across the network.

Another nine stations are currently installing elevators, funded under existing projects. In total, the STM plans to have 31 accessible stations by 2022.

Only 10 of Montreal's 68 stations are wheelchair accessible at the moment, and all are on the orange line. The Metro is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The STM is also pledging to increase the rate at which they make Metro stations accessible, aiming to outfit an average of two stations per year with elevators. The goal is for the system to be fully accessible by 2038.

"We will have a dedicated team that will develop an expertise, so we think that the team, which will be working exclusively on elevators, will be able to find solutions for stations that are more difficult," said chairman Philippe Schnobb.

The three Laval stations were the first to be outfitted with elevators, in 2007. In 2009, Berri-UQAM and Lionel-Groulx became the first stations on the island to get elevators.

Same price, less service

The STM has faced criticism in the past for not doing enough, with activists arguing the lack of accessibility violates the rights of people with reduced mobility.

A mobility rights group — Le Regroupement des activistes pour l'inclusion au Québec — is seeking authorization from the courts to launch a class action lawsuit against the STM over the Metro's lack of accessibility.

Steven Laperrière, RAPLIQ's vice-president, said while it's great news that more stations will be accessible, he doesn't think the group will withdraw the lawsuit application.

"What we've always fought for was a total 100 per cent access," he said.

Laperrière added that people with limited mobility pay the same as everyone else, but don't get the same level of service.

"A lot of people have missed important job interviews, medical appointments. That's why it needs to change," he said.

with files from Simon Nakonechny