• John Jantak

STM dismisses resident complaint and affirms Ste. Anne’s public transit commitment in north sector


JOHN JANTAK

The Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) affirmed in a recent email dated January 19 that the City of St. Anne de Bellevue will maintain bus service in its north sector in response to an unsubstantiated claim made by a resident during the December council meeting that the city did not intend to keep the service.

A mistaken impression that the City of Ste. Anne de Bellevue had no interest in maintaining public transit in the city’s north sector was laid to rest at the Monday evening council meeting on January 19, after Mayor Paola Hawa read aloud an email from a Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) representative that stated a recent communication between a resident and the STM was misinterpreted.

The issue was raised during question period at the previous council meeting on December 8 when resident Sandy Dolbel publicly stated that during a communication between her and an STM employee that the employee apparently said the city did not intend to keep the bus service on the 419 bus route that runs along Chemin Ste. Marie.

Hawa disputed the assertion made by Dolbel at the time, saying the statement was false and inaccurate and that the city has been consistently working with the STM to find ways to improve public transit in the north of the city, including providing residents with an enhanced collective public taxi service.

In a copy of the STM email dated January 19 that was obtained by Your Local Journal, STM representative Michel Tremblay who is responsible for bus route planning and service, wrote that there was probably a miscommunication between Dolbel and the STM employee during a conversation they had last November to address Dolbel’s concerns.

“I spoke with the employee who is a member of our division about the conversation she had regarding bus service on Chemin Ste. Marie,” Tremblay wrote. “She does not remember the exact exchange but assures me that she never said the mayor doesn’t want public transit in the area. In fact, it would have been surprising, considering we are actively working with the city to develop scenarios to enhance the bus and collective taxi service provided in the area.”

Tremblay also apologized to the city for the misinterpretation, especially if it caused anyone to question the city’s intention to continue providing and improving public transit in the city’s north sector, and said the STM will be more careful with its communications to ensure a similar situation does not occur in the future.

“That entire situation was ridiculous,” Hawa told Your Local Journal. “I’ve been working on this file for the past three years. I brought in the public taxi service on weekends. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s more that has been done in the past 12 years.

“I’ve been hammering away at improving public transit in the north for the past three years,” added Hawa. “So when it was stated publicly that, according to the STM, I didn’t want public transit service in the north, that was an outright bloody lie,” Hawa added. Dolbel’s unsubstantiated accusation prompted Hawa to contact the STM immediately afterwards to find out exactly what was said by the STM employee that Dolbel had spoken to.

“I called the STM and spoke to Mr. Tremblay who we’ve been dealing with since the new council was elected over one year ago and asked him what was going on because your employees are telling lies. “Mr. Tremblay did his investigation and the email that he sent yesterday which I read aloud at council, with an apology from the STM, basically said that the resident twisted the words of the employee who also confirmed that we’ve been working very hard on this file,” “I did not want the lie to stand.”

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