The deadline to put winter tires on your vehicle in Quebec may have passed last week, but don’t expect the STM buses in Montreal to be switching over anytime soon.
While all vehicles in Quebec are required by law to have snow tires on by Dec. 15, some may be surprised – and alarmed – to find out that city buses are exempt from that law.
“There are no winter tires on the market that fit our needs and requirements,” said Amélie Régis, a corporate advisor of public affairs with STM, in an email to Yahoo Canada.
Instead, the buses go through an annual process every November to winterize the regular tires to help them adapt to the slippery and dangerous conditions that winter brings.
“To ensure a safe and efficient service during winter, each year, on November 15, all of our 1800 buses are equipped with new tires on the front-wheels and traction tires on the rear-wheels,” wrote Régis.
“Our staff will even add deeper treads on the traction tires to provide enhanced traction through snow and ice. Our bus drivers are trained professionals and their main objective is to ensure safe and efficient travels for their clients, whichever the conditions.”
“It is really sort of a homemade recipe but that works for us,” said Philippe Dery of the STM to CTV News, on the process they use to winterize the tires.
Despite the ‘recipe’ for the tires in place, social media has plenty of examples of STM buses not being able to handle typical winter conditions.
— Mike Finnerty (@finnertymike) December 12, 2017
— Kristy Rich (@kristyjrich) December 12, 2017
Montreal isn’t the only city where public transit vehicles aren’t required to have snow tires. TTC vehicles in Toronto are not outfitted with winter tires, nor are the buses in Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa.
After a particularly brutal winter last year that saw many commuters frustrated, Vancouver’s TransLink is testing out “tire socks” which have Kevlar threats in them and are supposed to help grip.
Accidents are of course bound to happen in winter – but do you think that buses run by the city should have winter tires? Comment below with your thoughts.