“Warm up to your neighbour while waiting for the bus”
Right outside Lionel-Groulx metro station at the 191 stop on Atwater, Duracell has installed Montreal`s first heated bus shelter, with a social spin. Quebecor has been installing our city`s sleek new interactive shelters in and around the downtown area with screens that allow you to examine maps and play with the advertisements. While these improvements do bring a certain novelty to waiting for the bus, they are minor conveniences over functions the stops already had. Now that winter is upon us, Montreal commuters are less dazzled by the gesture-recognition of the stops and are usually more preoccupied with shivering.
It was pointed out at the press release Quebecor gave about these next generation shelters that heating them would have been a true improvement upon the old, however STM chair person Micheal Labrecque has said that the idea of heating the bus shelters has proven to be too expensive and not energy efficient enough to be a feature of the next-gen shelters. And yet, under a big battery-shaped roof, Duracell and Quebecor installed a heating system within this particular shelter that functions on a unique concept; two conductive pads have been installed on either side of the shelter, and when the circuit is completed through hand-to-hand contact between a minimum of two commuters, four vents in the ceiling produce a pleasant jet of warm air. The pads are located in such a way that one person can`t activate the system alone. The heat continues for a few moments after you`ve stopped holding hands, so continuous heat is only managed by the completed circuit of two or more people working together to reach either end of the shelter.
Montrealers are already used to beating the cold, being herded together in intimate proximity on their morning commutes to work and school. This concept almost forces interaction between strangers during a time of year where goodwill towards other humans and peace on earth is kind of the theme of this chilly season. This concept proves to be an interesting social experiment by bringing strangers together, breaking the ice through human contact, and experiencing shared warmth on more than one level.