Adapted transit users want compensation after STM's website shut down by virus
For some, the outage meant missed appointments, lost wages
When a ransomware attack shut down the Montreal transit authority's website last week, it left many of the people who use adapted transport stranded.
The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) could offer only essential appointments for work or medical visits — and even then, many people were refused travel, as the service struggled with capacity.
Now, they are demanding compensation, and they want to know when the site will be fully functional.
The virus crashed the STM's online platforms, starting Oct. 19. Since then, the transit authority has been working to get them fully restored.
While buses and the Metro kept running, the STM's para-transit services were restricted to essential appointments and its booking website shut down.
The para-transit service is reserved for people with reduced mobility, who require door-to door transport around the city.
Steven Laperrière, general manager for Regroupement des activistes pour l'inclusion au Québec (RAPLIQ) — an accessibility rights group — says these para-transit users should be compensated by the STM.
He says some people had to pay for taxis last week, instead of being able to rely on public transit.
"The STM said they would cover work transportation," said Laperrière. "[It] should reimburse people who have to front up the money for the alternative transportation. That is a must."
In one case, a woman who uses a wheelchair missed two work shifts because she had no way of getting there without a large para-transit vehicle.
Laperrière says she wants to be compensated for her lost wages.
In a statement, the STM says it is sensitive to the impact the computer virus has had on its adapted transit users. But it also says it cannot reimburse those clients for lost wages or taxi charges.
The STM says it's working hard to get its adapted-transit reservation site back running. In the meantime, people can make reservations for the next day, by telephone.