Suicides: the STM suspends the platform screen doors project in the metro
The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) will finally put aside its installation project of platform doors on the orange line of the metro network. Valued at several million dollars, these devices were intended, among other things, to reduce the risk of suicide attempts.
The news, which was first reported by Montreal Gazette, was later confirmed by Subway.
Contacted by Metro, Amélie Régis, corporate public affairs advisor for the STM, explained that “the difficult financial context linked to the pandemic” forced the STM to suspend the project, despite the some 200 million promised by the Quebec government for its realization.
“The project was in the planning phase and the amount concerned the implementation phase,” says Amélie Régis. The project, which provided for the installation of platform doors in 13 stations, was therefore put on hold just before it entered the construction phase. The STM had estimated that equipping each station would cost between 10 and 15 million dollars.
Already established elsewhere in the world, notably in Paris, London and Tokyo, the platform doors are generally glazed and do not do not open until a train has come to a complete stop on the tracks. They thus make it possible to prevent suicides, accidental falls as well as the loss of objects on the tracks.
A marked drop in ridership in the métro
The drop in ridership also explains the STM's decision to put the “anti-suicide” door project on hold, according to Amélie Régis. “With the decrease in traffic, this project was no longer considered a priority for the moment,” she said.
In March 2022, ridership in the regular STM network had indeed decreased by 59% compared to a similar pre-pandemic period.
The STM, however, predicts that ridership should reach 75% to 85% of the pre-pandemic level next fall.
REM's landing doors, unique in America
The City's new Metropolitan Express Network (REM) will therefore be the only network in Montreal to use screen doors in all of its 26 stations, when it is launched starting this year. This would also be a first for a light rail in North America.
“No one will be able to drop objects on the tracks. And since people will not be able to access the rails, we also come to guarantee the security of the network. There are a lot of benefits,” Jean-Vincent Lacroix, spokesperson for the REM, explained to Métro in 2019. “In Montreal, we wanted to ensure the reliability of the service,” a- he added. These gates will indeed minimize service interruptions on the network.