Montreal

STM gradually resuming front-door boarding, ticket validation starting July 20

STM says by the end of August, customers will also be able to see how busy a bus is on their website.

Masks will be mandatory on public transit starting Monday, but how that will be enforced is still unclear

As of Monday, all passengers riding public transit in Quebec must wear a face covering. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is preparing for a return to normal service as public transit users across the province are required to wear masks as of Monday.

A week later, the STM will gradually resume front-door boarding and ticket validation. This will begin on about 40 bus lines serving downtown Montreal.

For the last several months, Montrealers had to board the bus from the rear, where there is no device to validate payment.

And while wearing masks or another face covering will be mandatory, it's still unclear how the STM will enforce the new rule.

For now, the transit authority says they're focused on handing out masks and letting passengers know that they must wear a face covering before boarding.

"Our strategy is to make it easy for them to follow the new rules," said STM Chair Philippe Schnobb in a news conference Friday.

WATCH | STM Chair Philippe Schnobb explains next phase of service during the pandemic:

Philippe Schnobb, chair of the STM, said that instead of ticketing people who don't comply with mandatory mask rule, inspectors and ticket agents will be handing out masks. 0:44

Riders without a mask can go to a ticket booth to get a reusable mask from an attendant. The STM plans to hand out 1.5 million masks in total by October, which it has been doing since late May.

As for how to keep those without a mask out of public transit, the STM says they're waiting for more information from authorities.

"We're waiting for the specific details on the government's decree. We're waiting for the government to say what are our preoccupations about that," said Schnobb.

The STM says once masks become mandatory for all indoor spaces in Montreal, people will be used to carrying one around, which they expect will help people adopt the practice on public transit.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Monday that it will be mandatory to wear a mask in all indoor spaces by July 27.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said Thursday that an announcement about a possible provincewide mask policy will be made soon.

Plexiglass on STM buses

In addition to riders wearing masks, plexiglass barriers separating the bus driver from passengers will be installed before front-door boarding resumes.

The seat behind the driver must also remain empty at all times.

The STM says riders will be able to obtain information about how many people are on the bus by checking its website. 

That is expected to be in place by the end of August. By the end of October, passengers will also be able to check the capacity on some Metro cars.

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