June 12, 2014 2:46 pm

Parking fees coming to West Island train users

A full parking lot at Roxboro-Pierrefonds train station on June 11, 2014.

Tim Sargeant/Global News

MONTREAL – Taking the AMT commuter train from the West Island will soon get a lot more expensive for many users.

Parking fees for a reserved place at the Roxboro-Pierrefonds station on the Deux-Montagnes line will be introduced July 1.

Twenty per cent or 171 spots out of 887 places will be reserved for train users willing to pay $80 a month for a guaranteed parking space for their vehicles.

That’s on top of the $89.50 for a monthly train pass from the station or $105 a month for AMT train and STM bus and metro users.

“I think the passes are already high enough, they raised them so much in the last five, ten years,” one commuter complained.

The parking lot at the Roxboro-Pierrefonds station quickly fills early in the morning, including the spill over parking lot the AMT reserved across the street of Pierrefonds Boulevard for people driving to the station.

A full parking lot at Roxboro-Pierrefonds train station on June 11, 2014.

Tim Sargeant/Global News

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Instead of charging people to reserve a place, some commuters want the AMT to allow parking on the street in the largely residential community.

“I don’t think it’s very good because we’re already having a lot of trouble finding parking even in the streets,” another train user said. “If we don’t get here by 7:30 we’re not going to get anything.”

AMT president Nicolas Girard insisted the paid parking is a pilot project that will be applied to five stations on its network. It will be in place for six to twelve months and then re-evaluated.

“The majority of places will remain free,” Girard told Global News at the AMT’s head office in downtown Montreal.

Many cities already have paid parking for reserved spots. Girard noted that the system exists in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, Boston and many other North American cities with major mass transit systems.

Some drivers fear the paid parking could entice users to give up on public transit altogether and simply drive downtown to work, but Girard said that he thinks just the opposite will happen. He said he believes reserved parking will encourage non-mass transit users to leave their cars at home.

“It’s possible that some people right now, who are not using public transportation, said that because they have a guaranteed place they will go ahead and take public transportation,” he said.

At least one train user Global News spoke with plans on reserving a place.

“I think it’s a great idea. I’ve actually decided to go ahead with it and I’m going to try it out,” the daily commuter said after parking his car at the station on Wednesday.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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