STM delays prompt class action lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit has been filed with the Quebec Superior Court against the STM for delays and service interruptions.

Lawsuit requests that pass holders receive a 15 per cent refund for frequent delays

The scene at Vendôme Metro on the STM's Orange line one morning during a service interruption. (Sandrine Campeau-Simeone/Submitted)

A class-action lawsuit has been filed with the Quebec Superior Court against the STM for delays and service interruptions.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for pass holders who've been inconvenienced by service delays.

A refund of 15 per cent is being sought on the fees paid on monthly and annual passes since March 1, 2014.

The principle plaintiff in the lawsuit is Marion Croteau, a Metro user who uses the Blue and Orange lines at least 10 times per week.

She wants compensation for the impact frequent delays have had on her life. 

The law firm representing Croteau, Legal Logik, stated that the damages sought, multiplied by the number of public transit users affected, could mean that the STM will have to reimburse tens of millions of dollars.   

"The STM's repeated delays can have serious consequences on users' personal and professional lives and when a service is unreliable the user should be able to obtain compensation," says Legal Logik attorney Michael Simkin.

At this stage, they are still seeking approval by the courts for the class action lawsuit to move forward.

Users divided on service

Metro and users are divided as to whether the service interruptions are severe enough to warrant a partial refund on passes.

Gabriel Olivieri said that he's been in Montreal for a year and half and thinks the Metro service is fine.

"I'm always working one to nine but I never experienced any bad delay," he said. 

Gabriel Olivieri says he's had good experiences overall with the Metro, even though he admits he doesn't ride it during peak hours. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

Catherine Monteiro distributes the 24 Heures newspaper outside a Metro station.

She said Metro delays often leave her acting like an impromptu STM information agent.

"Last time [a delay] happened I asked if someone could come up because I couldn't give out papers and information at the same time," she said.

She said the situation is often stressful and frustrating, especially when delays hit in the morning rush.

Catherine Monteiro says the situation at the Metro can be chaotic in the event of a service delay. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

"It gets congested, and people are pushing to get in and one time there was almost a fight because there was no space."   

Michel Ménard said the Metro has had some problems lately which inconvenience passengers. 

"[The lawsuit's] a good idea," he said, adding that he would take part in it.

with files from Sarah Leavitt