Concordia student’s brainchild seeks to simplify Opus card renewal

Concordia student Anthony Boulos decided he didn't want to wait in line for three hours to renew his Opus card anymore, Monday, August 31, 2015.
Concordia student Anthony Boulos decided he didn't want to wait in line for three hours to renew his Opus card anymore, Monday, August 31, 2015. Anthony Boulos

MONTREAL – As if a new school year weren’t ordeal enough, September heralds another dreaded activity for Montreal post-secondary students: standing in line for hours on end to renew Opus cards with the STM.

Concordia Industrial Engineering student Anthony Boulos, 21, decided he’d had enough.

“I came up with the idea for a class and submitted the report to my professor [in 2014],” said Boulos, about to head into his final year.

“I got an A, so I thought I might send this to the STM. I didn’t know anyone. I don’t have connections or anything.”

But Boulos heard back within days from one of the STM’s directors.

“He said, ‘Let’s meet,'” Boulos recalled.

“I was super shocked. I said, ‘No way.’ He said, ‘It’s a great idea, let’s do it.'”

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A year later, Boulos’s brainchild is a reality – in pilot form, at least.

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Instead of printing out a form, having it stamped by their school and bringing it in person to an STM counter, students will input their information via Concordia’s online portal and the school will send the information to the STM.

The STM then makes the cards and mails them out to the students.

Boulos, an Île Bizard resident, worked on the project for just over a year as a Project Manager, collaborating with both the STM and his university.

“They were so open to it. They were amazing, I was so encouraged by it,” said Boulos.

The project is available for Concordia students exclusively for now, but it’s something the STM said it will implement in schools across the city if all goes well.

“It will be a good pilot project and if it succeeds, we will certainly want to show other institutions, universities, CEGEPs, that it is something that is very helpful to students,” said Philippe Schnobb, STM Chairman of the Board.

“It’s a great thing for students to not have to come in line.”

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The city-wide rollout happens will depend on the success of the Concordia program and the collaboration of each individual institution.

“It’s not a matter of saving money. The reason we did this is it’s something helpful, easy for students,” Schnobb said.

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“It’s very important for us to follow people who are taking the lead in that kind of project. It’s important for us to be open with someone who arrives with an idea that is new.”

Boulos doesn’t know if he will stay involved in the project; he’s focusing on graduation so he can continue towards his goal of working in management and consulting.

“I’m confident in my idea, everyone’s happy,” he said, adding that most of the hard, technical work has already been done.

“They [STM and Concordia] were both amazing about this and they listened.”

“I’m just a student with an idea. At any point they could have just taken over or said, ‘We’re not doing it anymore,’ but they didn’t.”

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