In early September, when students had to line up for hours to get photo ID Opus cards to take the bus and metro to school, the STM suffered the wrath of users and the media, and appear to be committed to not repeating this problem.
In order to handle increased demand as students renew their Opus photo ID cards, they have setup new temporary locations at Berri-UQAM, Côte-Vertu, Lionel-Groulx, Honoré-Beaugrand and Jean-Talon metro stations, as well as the Fairview bus terminus in Pointe-Claire.
But, as if they were trying to make this whole thing as complicated as possible, there’s one set of locations for renewing cards, and an entirely different set for replacing cards. And they all have different opening hours (and days).
First of all, many students are only learning for the first time that Opus ID cards, despite being supposedly valid for two years, need to be renewed every year, at a cost of $9.
The differing opening hours, even for services at the same location (Berri-UQAM offers Opus renewals on Sundays, but not new Opus cards, for example) will also no doubt lead to a lot of confusion and frustration on the part of customers.
Wanting to see how they were working out less than two weeks from the deadline (at which point last year’s Opus ID cards become invalid), I headed to Berri-UQAM and McGill and did some benign stalking of some clients.
Surprisingly, perhaps, even though this was late afternoon when you would assume they’d be at their busiest, both locations had light traffic.
I timed a few people going in to process their renewals or new Opus cards. At SPEQ Photo at McGill, the total time from arrival at the location to departure was less than five minutes. Far lower than the 2-3 hours seen in early September. At Berri, a slightly longer delay, but still the longest I saw someone at the service centre was 12 minutes.
Both locations were well stocked with people in vests saying “INFORMATION” who checked people’s documents and offered them the right forms if necessary.
It certainly seemed like a smooth operation, if anything slightly overstaffed. Perhaps that’s why they feel they can charge $9 for one person to check a paper, a second to take your cash and a third to stick a card in a machine and press a button.
In any case, the fact that nothing’s going wrong means you won’t see many news articles about it.
Let’s see if it holds up past Nov. 1.