MONTREAL -- The STM announced revised measures on Tuesday to curtail the risk of spreading COVID-19 and Mayor Valerie Plante announced that bus service will be free starting on Wednesday. 

Passengers are still asked to be weary, to wash their hands and maintain their distance from other people, despite the STM insisting that the risk of contracting the virus on public transit is low. "Taking the bus and taking the metro is still safe," Plante said. 

A patient who later tested positive for COVID-19 took public transit in Montreal on March 10. See their full itinerary here

The following measures will be in place for those riding the bus:

  • Boarding through rear doors allowed on all buses, except for clients using wheelchairs, and distribution of informational posters
  • Interdiction to obstruct the front door and front corridor
  • The seat at the back of the driver must remain free at all times
  • Closing of the 747 kiosk at the airport
  • Limit of one client per collective taxi

The metro system will implement the following measures:

  • Fares can be purchased or recharged only at automatic fare vending machines
  • Station agents will be in their booths to answer customer questions
  • Suspension of transit support services due to lower ridership

STM spokesperson Philippe Dery elaborated on what suspension of support services entails.

"We usually have dedicated teams comprised of STM employees and SPVM on the busiest stations’ platforms to help facilitate the free flow of clients and mitigate the impact of service disruptions or prevent them (for a blocked door or a sick passenger for instance)," said Dery.

The Paratransit network will institute the following measures:

  • limit of only one customer per minibus and in taxis
  • suspension of fare collection  

The STM announced that it would increase cleaning protocols on its network last week.