Top Ten Ways to Survive a Transit Strike
Okay Metrobloggers, we’re less than 24 hours away from a city-wide transit strike, and with talks between the STM and the Syndicat du transport de Montréal at a virtual standstill there’s nothing much to do except resign ourselves to it. As a community service, I’ve compiled a list of strike survival tips which are waiting for you after the jump. Use them well.
1. Keep informed
Did you know that half of all Montrealers read a newspaper on a daily basis? The other half will be waiting anxiously at a bus stop tomorrow morning, wondering why the 80 is nowhere in sight. Unless you enjoy looking incredibly foolish, check the local news both before and after the strike deadline, which is set for 12:01 AM on Tuesday. You can also consult the STM and CSN websites for updates.
2. Plan ahead
Don’t wait until after the strike deadline has passed to make alternative travel arrangements, because by then you’ll be just one of thousands of Montrealers scrambling to do so. If you don’t have one already, come up with a Plan B for how you’ll get to work/school/yoga class/band practice, and remember to give yourself plenty of extra time to do so. (See below.)
3. Take the bus/metro
Huh? But I thought there was a strike on? There is, but both bus and metro service will be running on an essential services schedule, which is as follows:
• Weekdays from 6:00 to 9:00 AM, 3:30 to 6:30 PM, and 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM
• Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 to 9:00 AM, 2:00 to 5:00 PM, and 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Now, those rush hour buses are bound to be packed, but they are running so if you don’t have other options you will still be able to get around. You’ll just be getting around very, very slowly.
4. Ride a bicycle
Let’s face it: your ass ain’t what it used be. Instead of wasting your time with fad diets, plant your derrière on a bike seat and then ride like the wind. Don’t have a bike? Well for chrissakes, what are you waiting for–go buy yourself one! You can get a second-hand bike for less than $100, in some cases substantially less, and you’ll still have it whenever the next transit strike is called. Think of it as a long-term investment.
5. Rent a car
Do you have a driver’s license? If so, you have the enviable option of renting a car for the duration of the strike, which you can also use to run all those little errands you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t had a chance. For instance, you really need a purple IKEA wine rack, don’t you? Of course you do.
6. Car pool
One way to cut down on costs as well as greenhouse gas emissions is to drive communally. Car pooling will also give you a chance to get to know your neighbours, your co-workers, and that cute guy/gal you’ve had a crush on for ages but haven’t had the courage to actually talk to yet. How could they possibly turn down a ride? Seriously, would you?
7. Call a cab
Taxis aren’t just for when you’re so drunk you can’t see straight–they are a lifeline for people who don’t own a car, or who, like myself, never quite got around to learning to drive. Admittedly, they’re not the cheapest form of transportation, but when has that ever stopped you before?
8. Wear sensible shoes
Walking is good for you, but it will give you terrible blisters if you’re wearing the wrong shoes–and trust me, you’re going to be doing a whole lot of walking in the days ahead. Do yourself a favour: leave your six-inch stilettos at home.
9. Give yourself time
Transit strikes are like really good drugs: they will profoundly alter your relationship to time, often in ways that you don’t expect. If you want to keep your stress at a manageable level (and if you don’t, the people around you sure as hell do), give yourself plenty of extra time to get to where you need to go.
10. Call on BOTH parties to return to the bargaining table
The reason that strikes happen is because contract negotiations have broken down, and they can only end when talks resume. Whatever your feelings about the STM, the maintenance workers union, or the relative merits of capitalism, socialism, and/or anarchism, the metro will not start running again until both parties get back to the bargaining table and start negotiating in good faith. You can help speed things along by sending an email to both sides demanding that they do so–and hey, I’ll even make it easy for you:
So, there you have it. With any luck at all, a deal might still be reached at the eleventh hour, but if not, you’re pretty much good to go. Bonne chance!