Financially and health-wise, students would benefit from extended metro times
On March 6, Montreal media announced that Mayor Denis Coderre had proposed extending last call until 6 a.m. One of the reasons cited, was Coderre’s concern for the safety of drinkers, (CBC News, March 6, 2014).
For students and other budget-conscious individuals, longer bar hours would mean they would have the option of taking public transportation rather than a cab or their own car. It would also negate those instances where drinkers wander around aimlessly until the metro opens because they can’t afford a cab or are too drunk to drive.
It also stands to reason that when people have time on their hands, are revved up on alcohol, while waiting to take the metro home, that they might engage in risky behaviour that could result in a trip to the emergency room.
If bars were open later, it would give drinkers a place to stay where there is less of a chance that they will do something that will get them hurt.
On the other hand, if bars are open later there is a greater chance that individuals will be encouraged to spend more money and thus save nothing by waiting for the metro to open.
Furthermore, there is a good chance that people will consume more than their usual amount of alcohol if bars are kept open later, which is both detrimental to their health and impacts their decision making capabilities which may get them in trouble.
Instead, what would help keep intoxicated trouble makers and cash-strapped individuals off the street at 3 a.m. is for the metro to stay open later.
At the moment, the metro stops running at most stations shortly after midnight on weekdays and shortly after 1 a.m. on Saturdays. Buses sometimes run a little longer but it depends where you are in the city. For example, the 24 which accesses downtown and NDG stops running around 2 a.m.This is problematic because it is around these times that most people begin their night. There is an all-night service but it is only in select areas and not as accessible to bar-goers as the metro. It therefore makes more sense to extend the hours of the metro and some buses to accommodate drinkers rather than keep the bars open late.
If safety is an issue as Coderre says, than safe transportation available for longer periods of time should be the priority and not longer bar hours.
This is also a proposition the CSU and the university administration should consider undertaking. It would be beneficial for students, not only for those who are drinking, but also for those students who take advantage of the library’s 24 hour service, for public transportation to be available all night. Rather than encourage a proposal that would see students staying up late, drinking more and spending more money, the university and the CSU should advocate for a safer, financially smart alternative to Coderre’s plan.