Every Montreal commuter has experienced the frustration of a service shutdown on the city’s vast metro network and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) on Wednesday announced a new, somewhat unconventional initiative to address the issue.
The STM is gambling on the old adage of laughter being the best medicine for what ails you.
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In this case, the STM is hoping a series of humourous ads will help improve customer experience and service efficiency by reminding commuters of the part they play.
While not everyone needs to be told not to jump on the tracks to rescue a dropped cellphone, it appears that some commuters do. Same for trying to pry the metro doors open with an umbrella if you’re late catching the train, or for getting into a metro car just as a wave of intense nausea hits.
The video and audio capsules focus on the five main reasons for service delays and stoppages caused by users themselves, which include proximity to the tracks, being sick inside the metro cars, objects dropped on the tracks, people on the tracks, and blocked doors.
Some may experience a sense of deja-vu upon hearing the ads, as the public transit authority called on a familiar voice to star in the campaign.
For the last 15 years, Michèle Deslauriers has been calling out metro stops and communicating important information to commuters in the city’s underground.
Now, she’ll also be reminding them how to behave.
While the STM admits responsibility for some inefficiencies in the system, it reports that over 5,653 minutes of service shutdowns last year, affecting over 4 million users, were customer-related.
STM chairman Philippe Schnobb emphasized the need for everyone to do their part.
“These service shutdowns could be avoided by adopting the right habits,” he said in a written statement.
“We are all part of the solution to making public transit use an even more enjoyable experience. For this collective experience to run smoothly, a multitude of individual actions are necessary.”