Since Montreal’s light rail system, the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), started running in July, commuters have been complaining about signage.
Too small or non-existent — it’s sending people into a maze and they’re getting lost.
“If you didn’t tell me it was the REM, I wouldn’t know. It’s not clear enough,” says commuter Alexander David.
To help, a student at Concordia University found a simple solution.
“It’s guerrilla cause it’s just me doing it,” says Dashiell Friesen, smiling. “I wouldn’t really count it as vandalism ’cause it’s helping people.”
Friesen, who is a graphic design student, concocted stickers with logos from the REM and the Montreal metro and created his own signs indicating the path from the Bonaventure metro station to the Gare Centrale REM station.
He designed, printed and put them up in a day, all for less than $50 of his own money.
Friesen says the stickers are easily removable and are meant to be temporary.
The 21-year-old says he contacted all the stakeholders involved, including Parks Canada, which manages the Gare Centrale.
He says they told him there was no signage because they needed to renovate the hallway.
“That doesn’t excuse the fact that there can’t be just temporary signs like mine,” Friesen told Global News.
He says he also spoke to the owners of Place Bonaventure, who authorized him to put the signs up.
Commuter Yvan Desjardins says he appreciates the signs.
“That’s a good move for sure,” Desjardins says.
As more stations are set to open, Friesen encourages the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) — the transit authority in charge — to plan better.
“Please add signs in advance to McGill Station, because I don’t want to go through a busy mall adding stickers,” Friesen said with a cheeky laugh.
In an email to Global News, ARTM spokesperson Séléna Champagne said the link between the REM and the Bonaventure metro station is “particular” since there is private property involved and several other stakeholders, such as Parks Canada.
Champagne added that they are working as of Wednesday to improve signage for passengers and will make changes in the coming days.