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Montreal STM System

Stopped in Our Tracks … Day 35 of 365

tumblr_lybtza3QzS1qjldjvo1_500 jackanthony


Another day, another train stoppage.

Prior to leaving I checked twitter and the Blue line was down across the city, so when it was time to leave, I headed for the Metro. I got on the Green line headed to Lionel Groulx to swap over to the Orange line.

Someone up there was taking the piss …

We were all standing there waiting, and no train. Then I noticed, (standing at the end of the platform because The end of the Orange line train sets me at the staircase at my next station… ) that someone had turned all the lights on overhead in the tunnel behind us.

And then the tones of death sounded …

The Orange line would be down until after six, (we learned after the meeting that someone had been hit by a train) I don’t know how you get hit by a train, unless you are standing on the tracks themselves, because there is plenty of room on the platform to stand. I don’t know.

There were a ton of people waiting on the platform. Thinking quickly on my feet, because I have the only keys to the church, and I was late, I went upstairs and got on the inbound Green line back to Atwater from where I had just come.

I got out of the station and walked up to Sherbrooke to catch a bus. Well, the bus was PACKED !!! And I was the last person to be able to get on the bus. The bus was so packed that we could not take on any more passengers for the entire route. People were pissed !!!

I met a friend in Westmount who had a car – so I was able to get off the bus early and ride up to the church. Several folks were stuck at various stations until the after the six p.m. restart, so they were late.

We sat a fair number of folks tonight. I was very happy to see our newbies show up again, and we had a newbie in the chair.

I noticed YOU were not there. You must be really pissed or upset that I called you out because YOU missed two meetings. Well, Thursday is coming, you will eventually have to face me at some point …

Anyways, where was I … oh, yes, the meeting.

We read from the Big Book. And the Appendix “A Spiritual Experience.”

I have said before that the second time I got sober, I did things very differently. The situation was lighter the second time around. Mortality was not an issue, to a certain extent, but I knew coming to my last drink that I could not drink any longer.

I said those One, Two, Three Prayers … that came to pass.

I was having spiritual experiences well before I set foot in the room the second time. But in retrospect, the Stick and Stay was so very important.

Having homed in a certain group, and having spent years in that particular room, I watched other people begin to find their power greater than themselves, and eventually, have their own spiritual experiences.

Watching other people get sober IS a spiritual experience, that lasts for as long as you invest in a particular group over a long time.

One day, you may be sitting in your chair, that I’ve said before, you need to find your chair and sit in that chair, and stick and stay in that chair. And eventually, one day, something you might say, from your chair, may impact someone, and they might “get it” right then and there.

You watch people … And one day … the elevator will go to the top of the tower … and the light will go on … And someone will see God for the first time, or have their first spiritual experience.

Seeing someone “come to” is a spiritual experience.

I’ve seen it happen numerous times over the years.

And tonight, one of our girls told us a story about something that happened to her on the Metro the other night.

On any given day we see various drunks on the trains and on the platform, no matter where you go.

On this particular night, she was on the platform waiting for a train, and a man sat next to her, with a bag of drink, and a can in one hand. And he was in a bad way. And she knew it.

An overwhelming feeling came over her, to actually open a conversation with this man, drink in hand. They got on the connecting train and got to their stop and got off. Where she opened conversation.

The man had been in the program, but faced a difficulty, and he went back out and his life went down the tubes … She was there, speaking words of comfort and of guidance.

We don’t usually engage drunks on our journeys. People usually avoid or ignore them at any cost. I’ve done that myself. But I digress…

She traded numbers with him and got him hooked up to hit a meeting soon and she left him. They corresponded but she got no reply, she even went as far as to give some guys his number so that the men could follow up for her.

She had a spiritual experience in the Metro, and she showed up tonight because of that experience.

She cited the book …


Many of us do not believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason, if we are attuned to paying attention to the universe.

I got to see my friends. One is leaving for South Korea on Thursday afternoon for two weeks. I got to have lunch with him yesterday, that was a good day.

Thankfully the trains were running on the way home and it was an uneventful train ride back.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Stranded on a Tuesday Night …


This post brought to you by the STM

Today was D Day. Shopping, paying bills, getting tickets and getting on with my Tuesday schedule. I was up and out early because it was the anniversary of Vendome Beginners – so I stopped at the store for some sweets.

I went to Pharmaprix on my way to the Metro to buy some things and get tickets for my Opus Card and headed for the platform. We got on the Green line headed for Lionel Groulx to switch to the Orange line to Vendome. The train departed the station and as we pulled into the St. Henri station, the tones of death rang.

We stopped, waited, no movement. The train went dark, and we waited some more, after 20 minutes I walked up out of the station and called home, to see how to get from where I was to where I wanted to go. That was a bust. I hopped on a bus BACK to Lionel Groulx hoping the Green line would be up and running.

It Wasn’t …

I’ve now used several tickets for nothing. I walked down to the platform of the train I wanted to take, and I asked a police boy if the Green line was down as well and he said yeah it was. I walked to the end of the platform and sat down and waited for a bit.

The announcement came on saying that the interruption was indefinite so I walked out of the station which was now barricaded at the entrance, and I walked up Atwater to Alexis Nihon. It was too close to seven to start down the Westmout tunnel to Tuesday Beginners, so I came home.

So much for my Tuesday Night…

Twitter said that a computer glitch downed the entire system. The city was fucked because of a computer glitch. Do you know what it is like during rush hour for the entire system to go down?


The Sociology of Montreal Transit and Escalators …


Firstly, welcome to all the new followers of the blog. It seems you like what I am doing, and that is always a good sign of where to go next.

I’ve got a new follower from our magic city of light. And after reading his blog earlier I thought I’d put up something I did a while ago – but never wrote about it because it was a school assignment. Maybe he will engage this post…

I took a semester of Sociology, because my husband is an M.A. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Concordia. This was at Dawson last year.

One of our work papers consisted of performing acts of breaking the norm when it came to mass transit, elevators and escalators.

When I first moved here more than 10 years ago, I fell in love with the city, not only because it was my birth mother’s city and I have family here, I came to visit and decided to stay.

It IS my anniversary of my arrival in Montreal this Easter. And so the first week I visited places, found meetings, found a place to live, sent off my application for my birthright citizenship form, and began to get to know the city.

Coming from Miami, there was little mass transit. One train, One line, and feeder buses connecting both points. I was blown away by the Metro System here. It is a big system. But pales in comparison to other Canadian cities and some in the U.S. like Washington and New York.

Montreal has its own charm. And there were things I learned early on. Like how to line up waiting for the bus in orderly fashion. Nobody seemed to push or barge in front of someone in line. People were polite and orderly.

Escalators … Stand Right, Walk Left. Never stand on the left, and never walk on the right. Except of course you are on a BIG escalator in a station.

Then it is all fair game.

Elevators … Always be kind to your neighbors. I live in a highrise. Never play music while others are in the elevator. It is rude and antisocial. People come in the elevator and talk on their phones. (Like I want to overhear your entire conversation !!! ) Going Up, What floor?, Hello Good day/evening.

If you enter a crowded elevator – take off your backpack and hold it by your feet to save space. THIS GOES for the Metro and the Bus as well. Because sometimes buses and trains are packed in peak hours.

When you get on a bus, if you are in a queue line, you are observant of others in front of you and behind you. Never sit in the front seats of a bus – they are often reserved by handicapped folks, older members or children.

Always be mindful of your bus driver. Be polite. Say hello – good day – have a nice day/night, and goodbye. Preferably in FRENCH !!!

People wait in orderly bunches on Metro platforms. On some platforms there are clear door markers on the floor marking where the doors will open. Always allow riders debarking the train to get off before you barge your way onto the train.

Never sit in marked seats for the pregnant and disabled.

Always be mindful of what is going on ON  the train while you ride. You never know when you will get to practice your chivalry or your French. Always be kind – don’t hog two seats because you only need one. Take care to pay attention to others, in case shit goes down while you are traveling.

You will notice that most folks are connected medically to their devices. Be they phones, players, I-phones, MP3 players and the like. Don’t blast your music and be aware of what is going on around you in case you need to step in and do something.

Learning how to navigate the Metro system took some time, until I learned what the directional signs meant. There are four lines. Green Line (downtown) Orange Line (Financial district line – going from one end of the city to the other) and the Blue line (which bisects the city up on the Mountain) from Snowdon to St. Michel. And finally the yellow line which operates from Berri to the South Shore and Ille Ste. Helen (where Expo 67 took place).

Your stop corresponds to the direction the train is traveling. You get on the train in the direction of your stop, the end points are identified on all metro platforms. I live downtown.

Our building sits equidistant between George Vanier on the Orange line, Atwater Metro on the Green line and Guy on the Green line up the way from here going into the East end.

Over the years the STM has perfected the way we use transit. We went from tickets we fed into turnstiles to plastic monthly passes we swiped to the all important OPUS pass that is a rechargeable credit card that holds all kinds of fares, be it daily, weekends, monthly etc …

If you are not fully fluent in French, you will learn, if you come here to live.

French is mother tongue over the transit platform. I’ve learned my French at Dawson and learning to live in this multicultural city. However I identify as a member of the anglo community. I find the only places I use French in my daily life is on transit, the grocery store and the shopping malls. For the most part I live in English Montreal. My meetings are in English and most of my friends are English – but a fair number of my friends are fully multi lingual.

The English AA and French AA share the same space at the Intergroup office. Our meeting lists are printed multi-culturally, French, English, Spanish, and Farsi. With the need of meetings crossing cultures, AA has adapted to the needs of the people in the city.

So now that we have given you the pointer of how to navigate our city, we come to the highlight of the post. The breaking social norms exercise. We had a week to complete this task. Then it became a written paper for class.

We were asked to do things a bit differently. With all that I have written above about etiquette and social responsibility this was our task.

1. To sit where we shouldn’t
2. To stand/walk where we shouldn’t
3. Take seats that are not usually sat in (see above)
4. Be counter the flow

And add to this watch how folks respond to breaking the social norm.

I found that I could not break social norms when it came to the bus, metro and escalators. And I surely did not sit in a front seat on a bus, I never sit in the front seats on any bus, Even if I at at the head of a line getting aboard.

I’ve learned in Living here more than a decade, there are unspoken rules that we all live by. And your lessons start the first day you set foot on our streets. We are kind people. We are forgiving. And we are polite.

However, there are those who just don’t fill any of these qualities.

NEVER be rude to an S.T.M Employee.

NEVER be rude to a bus driver.

Just Never be RUDE if you can handle that.

Smile, be kind and be aware of what is going on around you because you might, one day, have to act to help another human being on your day’s journey.

And that is a snapshot of Montreal from my perspective.

What have you learned about people, where you live???

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Race-car driver Villeneuve tears strip off Quebec protesters in five-minute critique

By Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Quebec’s student protesters have a new celebrity critic — and he’s firing away on all cylinders.

Jacques Villeneuve, the Quebec-born car-racing champion, is upset at a protest movement that has gone on for months and is now promising to turn up at Formula One Grand Prix events in Montreal all weekend.

In a five-minute exchange with reporters Thursday, Villeneuve urged the protesters to go back to school.

He suggested they were lazy. He called them an embarrassment to Canada — especially to Quebec. He suggested they were badly raised, by parents who never learned to say, ‘No.’

And he said they risked scaring away tourists and wealthy taxpayers, who would just pick up and invest elsewhere in a more stable climate.

The student protest movement has received the enthusiastic endorsement of many Quebec celebrities and near-unanimous support from the artistic community. But the Quebec-born, Monaco-raised driver just might have become the most famous, most virulent new critic of the movement.

“It’s time for people to wake up and stop loafing about. It’s lasted long enough,” Villeneuve told reporters at a cocktail benefit that kicked off the four-day Grand Prix festivities.

“We heard them. We listened. They should stop. It’s costing the city a fortune. It makes no sense.”

As for their parents, Villeneuve said: “I think these people grew up without ever hearing their parents ever tell them, ‘No.’ So that’s what you see in the streets now. People spending their time complaining. It’s becoming a little bit ridiculous. They spoke, we heard, and now it’s time to go back to school.”

He said that in a democracy, people can vote to turf governments, and speak their mind between elections to make themselves heard — but they have to know when to give it a rest.

“That’s what democracy is. We vote for people — and if you’re not happy, then you vote for other people the next time around. And if you’re not happy you complain, they listen, and that’s it,” he said.

“Same with your parents: ‘Daddy, mommy, I don’t like this.’ Well, go back to bed now.” Villeneuve said he was raised to believe in hard work, and not imagine money will fall from the sky.

He also compared the students to the London rioters last year and said they were “rebels without a cause.”

In the end, he said, the students are hurting themselves because they’re pushing for things that aren’t fiscally sustainable — and they’ll end up paying one day. Unfortunately, he said, if they keep it up there will be less taxpayers around to help foot the bill.

“And where does the government get the money? From taxes, from selling stuff. The next thing they will say is, ‘Well, take it from the rich,'” he said.

“And that’s when you have the rich moving to another country.”

The student protesters dismiss the idea that taxes would need to be raised to freeze or eliminate tuition — which represents only a tiny fraction of the provincial budget and pales in comparison to the money spent on corporate subsidies.

Scores of protesters demonstrated outside the cocktail event Villeneuve was attending, in the company of other racing figures and celebrities. It was a glitzy $1,000-a-plate fundraiser, with proceeds going to a local children’s hospital. Some protesters have promised to disrupt events throughout the Grand Prix weekend and even jam the metro leading to the race track on Sunday.

Villeneuve, 41, won the 1997 Formula One world championship and received the adulation of local sports fans who feted his success with a roaring celebration before a Montreal Canadiens game. After several difficult seasons he left Formula One in 2005 and has since raced on other circuits.

-With files by Alexander Panetta

Montreal mayor livid over metro smoke bomb attacks

McGill Metro Station – Green Line – Montreal

The Mayor is pissed, the Premier is pissed and Montrealer’s are getting pissed as well. Who’s to blame for this action today? Nobody is sure. But these kids are adamant and just hitting their stride. This could go on for months. I’ve seen marches like this before, and once a movement gets galvanized, there is little that they can do about it unless the authorities get drastic and the government moves its ass and changes their tune …

The summer festivals will begin soon and the city doesn’t want this taint on our city, nor do we residents. Somethings got to give, and give soon, or else Montreal is at the mercy of the angry student movement.


Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay is urging people to “take back their city” after a series of smoke bombs paralyzed the public metro system, sending the island’s transit service into chaos at the peak of rush hour.

“No cause, legitimate or not, can justify any criminal action that jeopardizes public security,” a livid-looking Tremblay told reporters at a news conference.

Although the attacks haven’t been directly linked to ongoing student protests, Tremblay also urged students and politicians to get back to the negotiating table to settle their tuition dispute, and restore civil order.