El-e-va-tion!

Inside a new elevator at Lionel-Groulx

Inside a new elevator at Lionel-Groulx

In case you haven’t heard, the STM opened elevators in two metro stations on Monday.

They made a big splash of it (two press releases), bringing out adapted-transit-user-representing board member Marie Turcotte to demonstrate them for the cameras.

Media coverage was light: CTV, CBC, Metro. The Gazette had a photo after the fact, but a Bluffer’s Guide that morning (written by yours truly) explaining a bit of background, like the fact that only the orange line is accessible, and this little matter with the trains themselves:

The suspension system on the train cars doesn’t keep them perfectly level with the platforms. Depending on how many people they are carrying, the floor level could be up to five centimetres above or below the platform level, making it difficult for wheelchairs (especially electric ones) to cross the gap. Right now, they’re having people accompany wheelchair users with special ramps that cross the gap (riders can refuse this help if they feel they don’t need it). The next generation of métro cars, which are still years away, will solve this problem.

I took the elevators at Lionel-Groulx a couple of times for fun. Ran into an old lady who got confused and took the wrong one. Use of the elevators was very light, which is either a testament to how well designed the station is or how little people know about the elevators so far. (They’re not reserved strictly for those with low mobility.)

One thing I only noticed when I travelled there today was that the Lionel-Groulx station now has an automatic butterfly door:

Automatic door at Lionel-Groulx

Automatic door at Lionel-Groulx

For those who don’t know, the butterfly swing doors are installed at entrances to metro stations because they can be opened despite a difference in pressure on either side, which happens often when you have trains coming into and leaving the station pushing all that air around. But this is the first time I’ve seen one that’s attached to a motor.

Quick redesign

Oh, and remember that point I made about the design of the panels next to the elevators potentially leading people to confuse the emergency button for a call button? Well, it looks like there was a quick redesign of that panel:

Panels at Berri-UQAM (left) and Lionel-Groulx (right)

Panels at Berri-UQAM (left) and Lionel-Groulx (right)

It’s possible this was part of the plan all along and these decals just didn’t get installed until after the elevators opened, but to me that seems unlikely.

12 thoughts on “El-e-va-tion!

  1. Michael J.

    Are the elevator buttons easy to reach? From the pictures I’ve seen they seem to be a bit high considering their target demographic.

    Reply
  2. Phil M.

    ” Use of the elevators was very light, which is either a testament to how well designed the station is or how little people know about the elevators so far “.

    If the Cartier elevator is any indication, I’d go with the latter. Using it saves you about a minute and a half compared to the normal route. The result: during rush hour, it’s usually so packed that there’s a line-up for it. Let’s just say I wouldn’t like to be the one trying to get in with a wheelchair.

    Reply
  3. Denis Canuel

    I just hope people will have the decency to leave these to people who really need them (i.e. wheelchairs and moms with strollers)

    I can’t stand seeing a family of 8 taking an elevator when the escalator is next to it. Oh well!

    Reply
    1. Rich

      I’d just like to point out that not all disabilities are obvious. Me, I wrecked my knee in a ski accident. I’ll be using the elevators regularly. To see me walk you’d think I’m just fine, but those 15 or 20 stairs between the turnstiles and the upper platform are a major pain in the knee to negotiate. So be nice and remember to cut us quasi-gimpy types some slack.

      Reply
  4. TUx

    The STM is terrible at user interfaces. Their website is atrocious, and they turned telbus from an efficient tool into a telephone menu nightmare. (I haven’t tried their new texting service yet, I hope it’s better) The STM app for iPod Touch/iPhone is a joke too. It’s fine for iPhones which have an always-on net connection, but if you have an iPod Touch it’s useless. Why they wouldn’t allow the schedules to be cached on a device for use offline boggles the mind. Another example that comes to mind, when using OPUS at a turnstile, the turnstile is unlocked as soon as the green light lights up. When you use a ticket the green light lights up right away, but the turnstile doesn’t unlock until you pull the ticket out. Inconsistent!

    Of course, we riders of public transit aren’t blameless either. When the motion detector for opening the rear doors on buses was introduced, there was signage clearly explaining how it worked, but buses were full of idiots standing there motionless wondering why the door didn’t open. The STM then changed the signage so that rather than explaining the mechanism, the doors just have a big image of a hand and the signs say to “push here”. This is easier for people who don’t bother to read signs to understand, but results in other stupidity, to wit:

    My bus had stopped and I was at the rear doors trying to disembark. The driver apparently forgot to flick whatever switch he needed to to allow the rear doors to open, so I was standing there waving my hand under the motion detector to no effect. A person behind me angrily pushed past me and started banging on the door’s rubber flaps, seeming to think that I didn’t know how to operate the door. The bus driver noticed the guy and did his thing, allowing the door to open. As I stepped out behind the guy he gave me a dirty look, like I’d wasted his precious seconds with my stupidity.

    2 lessons for all this I guess, signs need to be clear, but people also need to actually read them.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      There are motorized butterfly doors in the Laval stations, too.

      Another example that comes to mind, when using OPUS at a turnstile, the turnstile is unlocked as soon as the green light lights up. When you use a ticket the green light lights up right away, but the turnstile doesn’t unlock until you pull the ticket out. Inconsistent!

      This is by design. By forcing you to remove your ticket before unlocking the turnstile, this insure that you do not forget it there, and now, since it has to be surrendered on demand by fare inspectors, that feature could very well save you a costly ticket.

      My bus had stopped and I was at the rear doors trying to disembark. The driver apparently forgot to flick whatever switch he needed to to allow the rear doors to open, so I was standing there waving my hand under the motion detector to no effect. A person behind me angrily pushed past me and started banging on the door’s rubber flaps, seeming to think that I didn’t know how to operate the door. The bus driver noticed the guy and did his thing, allowing the door to open. As I stepped out behind the guy he gave me a dirty look, like I’d wasted his precious seconds with my stupidity.

      That was a conspiracy by the driver and a friend of his to make you look stupid… :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
      What I find funny is people waving their hand at the front door of the bus…

      Reply
    2. Alex T.

      I know this is a bit late but here it is anyways :)

      TUx says:
      ((
      The STM is terrible at user interfaces. Their website is atrocious, and they turned telbus from an efficient tool into a telephone menu nightmare. (I haven’t tried their new texting service yet, I hope it’s better)
      ))

      Their text messaging service is quite cool! Works (almost) every time)

      ((The STM app for iPod Touch/iPhone is a joke too. It’s fine for iPhones which have an always-on net connection, but if you have an iPod Touch it’s useless. Why they wouldn’t allow the schedules to be cached on a device for use offline boggles the mind.
      ))

      The STM mobile app is NOT made by the STM. It’s made by an independent develop per named Ian Cloutier
      There is an iPhone app that has ALL bus/metro/train lines in the greater Montreal area (STM, RTL, STL, CITs) it’s called MTL mobile by Guillaume Campagna. That app uses no data (except for occasional updates which you can postpone until you’re on wifi) and is perfect for an iPod Touch or iPhone with no data plan.

      ((
      Another example that comes to mind, when using OPUS at a turnstile, the turnstile is unlocked as soon as the green light lights up. When you use a ticket the green light lights up right away, but the turnstile doesn’t unlock until you pull the ticket out. Inconsistent!
      ))

      Not inconsistent, it’s Smart! It allows users to take their ticket back and avoid the up to $500 fine for not having a valid ticket.

      ((
      Of course, we riders of public transit aren’t blameless either. When the motion detector for opening the rear doors on buses was introduced, there was signage clearly explaining how it worked, but buses were full of idiots standing there motionless wondering why the door didn’t open. The STM then changed the signage so that rather than explaining the mechanism, the doors just have a big image of a hand and the signs say to “push here”. This is easier for people who don’t bother to read signs to understand, but results in other stupidity
      ))

      Yeah, like people waving at the door on a Classic (older buses with steps) thinking the door will magically open!!!!

      Alex

      Reply
  5. steve rukavina

    I would just like to point out, since I did the story, that CBC’s coverage appears to be the only one to look at the development with a somewhat critical eye.

    I’m just saying…

    Reply
  6. NDGer

    There is a coupon in La Presse today for free travel on STM buses and the metro and AMT trains all day tomorrow for “En ville sans ma voiture”. The coupon is sponsored by Loto-Québec, and is also available at their kiosks.

    Reply
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