STM's elevator priorities seem odd: critics
Groups representing people with mobility disabilities are not completely satisfied with this week's announcement that more metro stations will be retrofitted with elevators.
On Tuesday Montreal and the STM added 14 stations to the list of those due to get elevators over the next six years.
But Linda Gauthier and other people who rely on wheelchairs say the city's priorities in choosing which stations will get them first seem strange.
"It's good news, but not what we expected," said Gauthier.
Case in point: one of the first stations to be retrofitted with an elevator will be the Jean Drapeau station, in the middle of the Yellow Line.
Gauthier wondered why that station would be a priority, since the Longueuil station does not have elevators, and the elevators at Berri-UQAM do not reach the Yellow Line.
Berri-UQAM will have its elevator service extended to the Green Line, but even then will not reach the Yellow Line level.
"I think they should have invested on the Yellow Line. There's a univesity there, also people from the south shore who come to Montreal. I mean, there's a lot of people with disability there as well," said Gauthier.
Gauthier and her organization, RAPLIQ, launched a class action lawsuit against the the STM several years ago, but her goal is not to get a payout. Instead, she wants the STM to make the metro system fully accessible to those with difficulty walking.
Montreal and the STM say their choices were made on basis of cost.
Because the shafts for the Jean Drapeau already exist, it will be the cheapest station to be retrofitted with an elevator.
Other stations that will be given priority are those that are close to the surface, like Angrignon.
"We asked the team to choose stations where work will be easier to do so that was the major criteria for this program," said Philippe Schnobb of the STM.
The opposition at city hall is accusing the STM of improvising its program to make stations wheelchair accessible.
As for Gauthier, she would rather the city and the STM go with a progressive plan that would improve access step by step.