Montreal’s Public Transportation consists of buses, banlieue trains and subways. In the summer, they are quite frequented – in the winter tough, they are more than packed. That adds to the fact that everybody suddenly takes twice the volume as they would do during the summer – with the winter fat reserves and the voluminous coats, gloves, hats and other fancy equipment to fight the cold weather.

The point where it gets really weird and even dangerous, is when you yourself start using them.

Hazard 1: The Metro
Imagine you are standing on the platform at Berri-UQAM station, about to enter the orange line going to Cote-Vertu. The enormous chain of waggons – much longer than the ones in Vienna – on their rubber tyre wheels rolls in, accompanied by a clattering sound in the ceiling of the station. This is your command to step forward and anticipate the motion opf entering. If you keep standing somewhere further away, or worse, sit on a bench, you will have to fight. As soon as the doors of the subway open, a massive amount of people streams out like a raging river of hopping heads, shopping bags and coats, and you are cut off to the subway. It is like crossing a river – the water doesn’t take notice of you. I had to ram a woman with my laptop just to make my way through the moving crowd.
Another hazard here is that the doors close promptly, even before thge last person entered the subway. In Vienna, you may wait a minute or so in the station, but in Montreal it is merely thirty seconds. One time, I was standing right next to the door, it opened, I let two people step in in front of me, and while I put my nordic skiing equipment inside, the subway closed and I had to let go of the skis since my arms got stuck between the iron doors. Good that I was with Michka, and he could take care of the skis.

Hazard 2: The Bus
You think, lines in Europe (to get movie tickets, to buy groceries, to shake the hand of the major) are ridiculous? You’ll laugh your ass off in Montreal. What I see every day on my way to work, is thirty to sixty people standing in a line on the sidewalk. The first person in line stands next to a bus station sign.
What happens is that when the bus comes, everyone has to enter; and not like in Austria where you make proper use of your elbows and form a human bunch of grapes in front of the two bus doors, no, here everyon has to enter through the front door, and everybody steps in single filed. No doubt, sometimes when a bus doesn’t come, the line grows and grows, wraps around the metro station, making curves and you can’t see the last person when you stand at the beginning. I constantly pull out my cell phone and take pictures of this behaviour, but since a month or so, after sending the picture to Lorena, put my cell phone in my pocked and step in line, like a good Montrealais citizen.
By the way, the doors have handles that you actually have to push when the bus stops to let you out, otherwhise the door doesn’t open. And if there are three people getting of in front of you, chances are good that the door closes right in front of you before you could even get out. That’s a hint to drink some more maple syrup – the sugar will speed you up, lardass.

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