Montreal woman fined for not having exact change on bus; just a bit embarrassing


CBC
CBC

Montreal has a pretty good public transit system; not perfect by any means, but still pretty good. Now and then an item makes it to the news about some rogue transit employee giving a commuter a hard time. This being Quebec most of these incidents involve language, and in particular a refusal to speak English. While these items are embarrassing when they make it to the outside world,  a recent kerfuffle has gone one better.

This being Quebec most of these incidents involve language

A woman, Pauline Tantost, spends four hours in the emergency room of a Montreal hospital. Upon leaving the hospital with her two-year old son in tow she boarded a bus home. The bus fare for an adult in Montreal is $3.00. Ms. Tantost only had a five dollar bill. Bus drivers don’t touch money, and the machine doesn’t give change (why one might ask, candy bar machines do). So Ms. Tantost was willing to pay with her fiver and let the STM keep the change. Nope, that won’t work either. The machine only accepts coins. Exhausted and annoyed, she sat down on the bus and the driver called security who came along and fined her $219 for not having paying the exact amount.

Kafkaesque as it may sound, this really happened.

In fact the first “unofficial” Montreal bus pass was a twenty-dollar bill; many drivers couldn’t be bothered making all that change and would wave the user on

STMThere was a time when Montreal bus drivers made change and actually sold tickets, individual, strips of six and in books. In fact the first “unofficial” Montreal bus pass was a twenty-dollar bill; many drivers couldn’t be bothered making all that change and would wave the user on. I understand that drivers should concentrate on driving and not on sales. I also realize a bus with a cash box becomes a target for thieves. I’m not suggesting drivers should be called upon to make change, but surely they can come up with a machine that takes bills and gives change! They’d only have to take a trip to a casino to find the technology.

… but surely they can come up with a machine that takes bills and gives change

Perhaps the driver, while doing his job to the letter of the rule, could have let this one go. This would have solved the woman’s problem, and saved the Montreal transit folks a whole heap of embarrassing media attention.

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