Take your bikes outside – the metro doesn’t want them

A letter in today’s Gazette complains about bikes being rejected in the metro. Normally, bikes are allowed outside of rush hours on the first car of every train.

Normally.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of exceptions. Days when there is, to use an STMism, an “achalandage important” which prevents bikes from being used safely. And looking at the list on their website, it looks like it’s just about every day this summer.

The STM is maybe being a bit over-cautious about safety, but not as much as people may think. On Wednesday, as I took the train to see the fireworks, the human traffic was insane. Tens of thousands boarded trains (some had to be added to handle the extra load), crammed in tighter than during the peak of rush-hour, all headed to Papineau to either get on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge or the parking lot underneath it. All the escalators were set in the up direction (those going down had to use the stairs), and police were called in to handle the crowds.

Imagine having to take a bike on that.

The other concern is that allowing one person to take a bike on the train means you have to allow everyone to take their bike on the train. So events that involve bikes, like the Tour de l’Ile mean they have to ban bikes on those days too, even though other traffic is pretty close to normal. (The STM has since relented slightly on the Tour de l’Ile, allowing some stations to accept bikes but not others).

Consult the list for exact times, but as a rule of thumb don’t count on using the metro during the evening or pretty well at all on weekends until the summer festival season is over.

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