Are Montreal water-taxis a possibility?

MONTREAL – In an attempt to fight bad traffic, some city councillors are trying to get the city to launch a system of water-taxis.

It’s an idea that comes from Chantal Rouleau, the mayor of Rivieres-des-Prairies-Pointes-aux-Trembles. Rouleau said that she believes water-based public transportation would help connect the ends of the island to downtown Montreal.

It’s an idea that many welcome.

“I drive, I take the bus, I take the metro,” said one woman. “I think it’s a good idea, why not?”

“It’s a great idea,” said another passerby. “I would take one, sure. I don’t know how much it’s going to cost, but it sounds exciting.”

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NDP Transport Critic Hoang Mai said that it could help with Montreal’s traffic problems.

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“It’s great to look at other options, I know that in terms of the Champlain Bridge, I’ve been calling from the start to look at other options,” he said.

“It would be a very interesting way of using the St. Lawrence river.”

Sightseeing tour companies also welcomed the idea, arguing it would be a great way for locals to take advantage of the city’s waterways.

“It’s the main reason we have Montreal, it’s the waterways that facilitate us to come and discover Canada,” said Steven Ouimet, who runs Amphi Tour in the Old Port.

“We can use the water for us, to ease everything, for the traffic. It’s an opportunity that we have, that we can use.”

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Ouimet said that he’s sure water-taxis would be well-received among the locals, but noted that water-taxis would probably have to stop running in the winter, when the river freezes up.

“Like us, we run from May to October,” he said.

“But I think Montrealers would be very receptive.”

Further studies are currently being conducted to determine whether this would be feasible.

Rouleau said she hopes to launch the taxis by 2017.

Other large North American cities with important waterways, like New York, Chicago, and Toronto, have all made it work.

“Other cities have a lot of things that we should have already,” said one passerby.

“But that’s Montreal,” she laughed.


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