'Solidaribus' will provide shuttle service to Montrealers experiencing homelessness in the winter
MONTREAL -- In an effort to support those experiencing homelessness in Montreal, the city's transit authority (STM) has gifted one of its city buses to the Old Brewery Mission.
The bus, dubbed the Solidaribus, will act as a shuttle to bring people to shelters across the city during the winter months once the metro has closed.
As of the end of November, the bus will roam the streets of Montreal from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. seven days a week, with staff onboard -- offering safe transportation to around 100 people per night, in addition to the shuttle bus service the Mission has had in place for years.
The decision to add a second bus providing this service was motivated by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This additional bus provides an essential service for thousands of homeless people and will help raise community awareness of the realities of homelessness, as well as the need to find sustainable solutions, such as access to housing," said James Hughes, the president of the Mission, in a statement.
The project is an agreement between the Mission, the STM, the City of Montreal, the Societe de developpement social, the Montreal police service and the government of Quebec.
The bus driver's salary and fuel will be paid for by the City of Montreal and the downtown CIUSSS has allocated funding to pay for social workers' salaries during the winter season.
“The joint winter plan is the result of careful consideration following the first wave of COVID-19, which allowed us to identify new issues surrounding homelessness in the STM network and to provide an appropriate response that would help increase the safety of employees, customers and homeless people," said Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, also in a statment.