Thursday, August 8, 2013

Corruption, Fraud and Thuggery by an Out of Control Montreal STM

UPDATE: 2014 August 03 (See bottom of story for update)

 


Is the Montreal Transit Authority’s Claim of “OPUS Card Fraud” a Fraud itself and a Pretext to More Draconian Legislation in the Near Future? A look at Montreal’s STM (RFID) OPUS Cards, Fraud Claims, STM Security, and What Comes Next.

By: Stewart Brennan
World United News

In 2008, the Montreal Transit Commission (STM) adopted a new system for their monthly bus passes and single fare ticketing from European corporation “Calypso Networks Association” (C.N.A.) with, the integration corporation “Spirtech” assisting in the implementation and engineering of C.N.A. software. 

Montreal had jumped into the RFID OPUS technology for monthly bus passes while also using a magnetic strip card reader for single transit fares. We were told then that the reason they were moving to this new $219 Million dollar system was to prevent Bus pass fraud in the old system.

On the surface it seemed that there wouldn’t be too many problems associated with this new technology, with the exception of the STM’S South Shore “Longueuil Metro Station” which did not, and still does not accept STM Magnetic cards bought anywhere else but in the Longueuil metro station. Not good if you prepaid all your STM trips somewhere else and do not have any money left to pay for an additional one…which did happen to me the first time I used the system going home from the South Shore. It was a very frustrating experience that I wont get into here.

The STM, Fraud, & OPUS Cards

Since 2009, Michele Labrecque has been the chairman and the primary representative of the STM. He oversees the performance and execution of the STM’s functions and powers…and, in agreement with other board members, sets corporate orientations. He also chairs the Board’s public meetings and approves the agenda in collaboration with the STM’s Chief executive officer and is the Transit Users’ Representative…

Recently, Michele Labrecque estimated that the STM saves $12 million a year on fraud by using the OPUS Card technology but did not give any details on how they do this exactly. His statement raised a lot of unanswered questions to say the least.

When you invest 219 million dollars of taxpayers money into a NEW system that is supposed to be Fraud proof and a benefit to the citizens, you certainly wouldn’t want to skip out on purchasing the Fraud Detection Option when purchasing this system…especially when stopping Fraud is the reason they bought the system in the first place. So it is very strange and disturbing to see more and more STM Security Inspectors harassing passengers for their tickets and bus passes in the name of Fraud.

These STM directives and security actions clearly state that either the system they bought is totally useless in detecting Fraud, that someone grossly incompetent is responsible for not acquiring the proper equipment and programming, or there is corruption happening inside the STM.

Regardless of the answer, the people of Montreal and the surrounding communities should not have to be shoulder the Orwellian directives by Government & Corporate decisions that harass the public, especially when the STM are to blame in the first place.

“Spirtech” an OPUS Technology engineering firm and partner with Calypso Networks claims that their system is virtually Fraud proof. Who am I to believe? (http://www.spirtech.com/products/fraud-detector)

If Fraud is not a problem with this new technology, then why do we need STM Security checking everyone’s Monthly OPUS Bus passes and Magnetic Strip single fare tickets?

If indeed the STM has reduced Fraud by 12 million dollars as per MICHEL LABRECQUE, why is the STM giving themselves huge pay raises as stated in an article by the Montreal Gazette on July 25th, 2013 to the tune of millions of dollars? And WHY have they hired an army of bus pass inspectors?

Does this 12 million dollar savings at the STM mean that STM management get to pocket this money? Are the STM Security Army, who also received big raises, becoming the cash cow tool of the STM’s corporate management? (See Gazette Report for security personnel salaries)

Court Orders STM to pay $123,000.00 in back pay to STM Security Officers
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Court+orders+back+security+officers/7840875/story.html

Failure to show these STM Inspectors your ticket will land you a huge fine and in the hospital if you refuse to budge, as was the case with me on August 03rd, 2013. One might look at it as strong-armed tactics by the STM to ensure every passenger obays whatever they are told by STM Security or face being roughed up and fined without any recourse to challenge them…because the STM Board of Directors, who are also municipal legislators, passed a municipal law that grants this corporation police powers.

As stated in the Montreal Gazette on July 25th, 2013 the STM gave themselves big pay raises. I wonder where they got the money to inflate their already massive salaries?

STM Got Big Pay Raises
http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/managers+raises/8703628/story.html

When the size of your STM Salary is dependent on growth and there are no other means to create that growth how exactly does one create growth and give themselves large pay increases?  All the pay increases of the STM payroll have to come from somewhere…and a job needs to be a benefit to the corporation for profitability. So I wonder why they have hired more people in the STM Security department?

The STM’s Michel Labrecque also stated that they want a 40% increase in rider-ship by 2020…in my opinion, harassing and beating up their customers is certainly not the way to go. If they keep up their current pace by treating everyone as a potential criminal, more people will stop using their system.

Coming to Montreal by 2015 OPUS 2.0

During his opening remarks for AQTR’s conference on Urban mobility in the age of electronic payment (Feb 25, 2012), the president of the STM’S governing board Michel Labrecque stated, “We transport millions of people…soon we will get to know who they are.” What Mr. Lebreque was referring to was the implementation of OPUS 2.0 and having access to all your personal information in the future on the Montreal Transit Bus Pass. Security related? Fraud free?

OPUS Background Info

The OPUS card uses RFID (Radio-frequency identification) technology which can be read by anyone with an RFID transmitter / receiver. The OPUS card technology is owned by “Calypso Networks Association”; this European company’s primary goal is to use this technology on all digital transactions worldwide and to eventually replace the worlds currencies to become the Global technology and system for all monetary transactions. We are already seeing this technology being used by the Banks through Debit Cards, and Credit Cards, but we are also seeing this technology on Medicare cards, Drivers Licenses, passports, and soon there will be an upgrade to the Transit Authority’s OPUS 2 Cards.

Is there OPUS Card Fraud in Montreal?

So if this OPUS card fraud is real then what makes the Bankcards safe and the Bus Pass not safe? The bigger question is, of course, why are we allowing our governments to bully us into this RFID technology if it isn’t reliable? On a larger scale, We are talking about a massive corporation merger interconnected with many national governments, banks, and powerful shareholders that have the potential to end all national sovereignty by economic merger when financial controls of this technology are in place. “Spirtech” is the company being used to help engineer the OPUS RFID technology merger between corporations, banks, and governments. So their claim to be a safe system certainly needs to be proven since it conflicts with the STM’s assessment…but then it’s all about control, money and security isn’t it; but security for who?

Is it really necessary for Montreal’s STM Security to harass transit passengers because THEY SAY there is fraud in the OPUS system? If the answer is yes, then what about debit cards, credit cards, and Medicare Cards? Are these same technology cards at risk of fraud as well? And if so are we to expect a future where security people threaten debit and credit card holders to show ID and threaten us with arrest if we do not show them what they want?

As far as “Spirtech” is concerned, programming is all that is required to secure the cards…If that is so, why is Montreal’s STM spending Millions of Taxpayers dollars to hire an army of security inspectors to harass the public, instead of fixing the system?

The South Shore Transit System (RTL)

The South Shore of Montreal has a different Transit System (RTL), which also adopted the OPUS card and has a combination OPUS card with the STM for passengers requiring both transportation systems. However the RTL did not choose to adopt the single transit fare magnetic strip cards, so there is no proof of payments or transfers for single use. Even still there doesn’t seem to be a breach of security with their OPUS cards nor do they employ an army of security people to harass their passengers.

The RTL does have an OPUS card for occasional RTL riders who can’t purchase a monthly rechargeable OPUS card. The commuter can choose to load 6, 12, 18 or 24 RTL trips on a Solo card at the regular rate ($3.25 each x number of trips). Valid on all RTL buses, where a transfer is automatically issued on the Solo card. But they do not have a single fare proof of purchase to issue a passenger when they pay $3.25 on the bus.

Although the Quebec Government represents both transit systems (RTL & STM) together for a better price when approaching corporations for retrofits or Spare Parts such as implementing the new OPUS technology, the “South Shore Transit Commission” (RTL), chose not to use the exact same system as the STM. The only difference is the magnetic strip single fare cards…and the number of security personnel hired…

RTL & Municipal Governments

I’ve learned that at the municipal council level of government on the South Shore there are Paid RTL representatives that receive a minimum $15,000.00 just for being an RTL corporate representative. In my opinion there is a huge conflict of interest here since the money comes from the citizen’s taxes to pay them this bonus over and above the salary they receive for being on the council. Those chosen to represent the RTL are usually favoured by the Mayor of the specific community, if, of course, they do not claim the bonus for themselves.

This got me to thinking, “Does the STM also Pay the City Councillors in Montreal and the West Island a Bonus”?

If we take a look at who is on the STM Corporate Board of Directors and the STM Committees the answer is “YES”. The same people are on both Corporate and government posts. My question is how much are these municipal government reps being paid just to rubber stamp their STM corporate directives? Am I wrong to think this is corruption?

STM – Members of the Board of Directors
https://www2.stm.info/English/en-bref/a-ca_membres.htm

Attacked By STM Security Agents

On Saturday August 3rd, 2013, STM Security attacked me for not showing them the magnetic strip bus pass I received after paying for a single fare on Bus #204 in the West Island of Montreal. They put me in the hospital. The incident is an ongoing nightmare for me now because I will not take public transport for fear of a repeat performance by the STM Security. It also stops me from visiting my 87-year-old mother on the South Shore who needs help because of her complications from dementia. I don’t have a car nor do I know anyone here that can take me to the South Shore once a week so I will need to find a way to rectify this. I will not bow to this authoritarian minded corporation, nor will I allow my dignity as a human being to be trampled on.

One of my fears is based on being singled out by STM security personnel with the Security software programs the STM have installed with all of the security cameras throughout the transit system. “Facial Recognition Technology” allows the STM Security Inspectors to profile passengers at will and is reason enough for me to stay away from ever taking the bus again simply because I feel I will be targeted and because my plea for justice has fallen on deaf ears by the STM, Municipal Governments, Gazette, CBC, CTV and other mainstream media. The NEWS mediums simply have not done their jobs in investigating and bringing the public’s attention to the ongoing conflicts of interest, corruption, and unjust laws that enable thuggery by the STM and its security apparatus.

According to Calypso Network Association, the creators of the OPUS technology and the engineering group Spirtech that works with C.N.A., there is no Fraud with their system…but the STM hires security to run around all day long harassing passengers by insisting on checking everyone’s OPUS cards and magnetic strip single fare cards…In my opinion, the STM, which is a merger of government and corporation is a completely corrupt organization operating as a parasite on the tax payers of Montreal and the citizens of the surrounding service area’s. The STM and all it’s Board members need to be investigated through a public inquiry including a forensic audit investigation of their books. The Harassment by STM Security on the population using public transit has to stop!  

My Personal Request to the STM

I want an apology from the STM for their security personnel roughing me up and putting me in the hospital because I wouldn’t show them the ticket I had just paid for. I want a complete stop to the STM security’s harassment of the public. I want the $333.00 fine they imposed on me for not showing them my ticket to be dropped, and I want the STM to pay for the damages inflicted on me by their security personnel.

Stewart Brennan
---------------------------

UPDATE: 2014 August 03

It has been one year to the day since the violent incident involving the STM and their belligerent security thugs who accosted me on Bus number 204 and put me in the hospital. Here’s what I hope will be my final update on this matter:

I challenged the ticket issued to me by the STM in court and won, in fact the judge shook her finger at the STM representatives for their brutality and warned that she hopes there will not be anymore incidents like this in the future by the STM and its security…not long afterwards the STM security blended into the background and stopped pulling busses over; this is a “Victory” for the citizens who use public transport in Montreal. We all win when a bully is put in its place. Stand up and don’t back down when you have been wronged. There are still some credible people within the justice system that know the difference between right and wrong. Peace!

Links:

Calypso Networks Association
http://www.calypsonet-asso.org/
Spirtech
http://www.spirtech.com/spirtech-consulting/calypso-networks-association
OPUS 2.0 Urban Mobility in the Age of Electronic Payment
http://spacing.ca/montreal/2012/02/23/opus-2-0-urban-mobility-in-the-age-of-electronic-payment/
Court Orders STM to pay $123,000.00 in back pay to STM Security Officiers
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Court+orders+back+security+officers/7840875/story.html
STM Got Big Pay Raises
http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/managers+raises/8703628/story.html
STM – Members of the Board of Directors
https://www2.stm.info/English/en-bref/a-ca_membres.htm
Calypso Networks Association & STM – (PDF File)
http://www.calypsonet-asso.org/downloads/open_session_2012/2012%2011%20STM.pdf
NOVA Bus
http://www.novabus.com/transit-solutions/service.html
RFID
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-frequency_identification
Metro Security think they are Policemen
http://archemdis.com/2010/04/08/montreal-metro-security-thinks-they-are-policemen/
Woman Fined $219.00 for not paying bus fare with exact change
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/08/02/montreal-stm-verdun-pauline-tantost-fine.html
Montreal’s STM Transit Security is Violently Out of Control
http://worldunitednews.blogspot.ca/2013/08/montreals-stm-transit-security-are.html

 

2 comments:

  1. Hello Stewart,

    I think you have completely missed the point of the STM transit cops.

    They are looking for turnstile jumpers -- people who have not paid their fares, and the only way to do that since the introduction of the OPUS system is to scan your ticket or card (or find out you don't have one).

    It's got nothing to do with people making fake tickets.


    Sorry you got hurt.

    Kevin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are no turnstiles to jump over on buses. The bus driver verifies everyone’s payment before they get on, be it in cash or by swiping their OPUS or Magnetic transfer cards. The STM Security stopped the bus for no reason except to harass the people on it. What’s the point of the Bus driver, security camera’s, and silent alarms if they aren’t going to use them? Security should be used to intervene if there is trouble not to create it…thanks for your comment and for taking the time to respond. If you're interested, I have a full account of what happened at the link below dated August 4th, 2013 on this blog http://worldunitednews.blogspot.ca/2013/08/montreals-stm-transit-security-are.html

      Delete

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