MONTREAL -- Montreal's Mobility Squad, that team of patrollers who look for misbehaving drivers, is about to grow.

The city is increasing the group's budget and hiring more staff in an effort to get traffic flowing smoothly throughout the metropolis.

It will also be working weekends.

Created in July 2018, the squad was initially operating in just three boroughs, then six, with a small team of patrollers tasked with finding drivers who were blocking traffic lanes.

Once they located people who had decided to stop -- often with four-way flashers blinking -- in a lane where cars and trucks should be moving, they encouraged the drivers to get their vehicle into gear and move on.

Since its creation, the squad has intervened more than 10,000 times.

In the next few months, the squad will hire more staff to create a team of 16 people to patrol every borough in the city, including a researcher who will analyze their data and figure out exactly which spots in Montreal are the most likely to be blocked by bad drivers.

The squad also has the task of checking on snow removal and making sure people can get around crucial areas on foot, getting drivers to move their cars before clearance operations begin, and verifying contractors clearing driveways don't dump snow to block an already-cleared driving or bicycle lane

To do this the squad's budget is growing by $500,000, to $1.4 million.


Tickets aren't a priority

Last year the squad's members acquired the legal power to hand out fines and tickets, meaning they no longer had to summon a police officer to deal with drivers who refused to leave.

But the evidence shows the squad's members are more concerned with getting traffic moving instead of handing out tickets.

Throughout its existence, members of the squad (or the police officers called in to do that job before squad members had the power to issue tickets themselves) fined just 1,999 drivers-- most of them for blocking a lane of traffic.

They issued:

  • 1,497 tickets for blocking a lane
  • 446 tickets for blocking a reserved lane
  • 160 tickets for blocking a pedestrian path
  • 25 tickets for blocking a bus stop
  • 12 tickets for blocking a bicycle lane