sachez qu'à chaque fois que vous sacrez après les pannes dans le métro il y a peu être qq1 qui vient de se tirer sur les rails par désespoir
— ? Drew ? (@Kityara_) April 19, 2013
It's easy to get frustrated when the metro goes down. We're always rushing to get somewhere, and we don't have lots of free time, especially during the morning rush hour.
And between the computer system that seems to be constantly failing and the 40-year-old trains that always seem to be breaking down, it's easy to think that incompetent mismanagement on the part of the STM itself is responsible for these problems.
The statistics show that's not really the case. According to the STM's activity report for 2011, about half of all disruptions (defined as stoppages in service for more than five minutes) happened because of the actions of passengers. This includes people being on the tracks, people doing improper things with moving or fixed equipment, medical emergencies by people who happen to be in the metro, and, unfortunately, metro suicides.
Of the remaining half, 43% were because of failures of trains, stationary equipment or the systems that control them, and the rest were for "external causes" or "miscellaneous".
A partial shutdown of the green line that happened on the morning of April 19 fell into the first category of disruptions caused by passengers. A medical emergency at the Verdun station, someone caught under a train. Considered a case of suicide, the media usually leave the issue there and don't report more on it, for fear of encouraging similar acts.
But, as it turns out, this wasn't what happened. An investigation showed that the victim, a young woman who had turned 20 years old only four days earlier, had fallen between two metro cars, apparently not paying attention because she was using her phone.
It's tragic, and perhaps a lesson in the dangers of walking around when you don't see where you're going. But what's even more so is that nobody noticed, and the train left the station. It wasn't until two stations later that the train was stopped, and then only after passengers noticed traces of blood (the story doesn't specify where that blood was found).
There are questions to be asked about the safety of metro cars (it's been mentioned that the new trains coming in 2014 won't have these gaps between them), about the safety of using cellphones while walking, and about how someone could fall between metro cars during rush hour without anyone noticing or sounding an alarm.
Sadly, there's no easy way to prevent all injury when you're dealing with heavy equipment. Only ways to reduce them.
But we could start by understanding that disruptions to service happen, because comments like these seem a bit heartless in hindsight: