AMT train fares to increase 3 per cent in January

WATCH: Montreal’s commuter train service, the AMT, is hiking its fares by three per cent to offset operating costs increases. Tim Sargeant has details.

MONTREAL — As Nicolas Girard, president of the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), was proudly inaugurating the new Anjou train station on the Mascouche line set to open December 1, users were complaining about impending fare increases of three per cent beginning January 1, 2015.

The fare hikes are needed to offset increases in higher operating costs, Girard told Global News.

“If we want to maintain our services, to offer new services we need to have fees that more than three percent,” he said, while standing on the freshly minted platform at the Anjou station.

Girard said services are increasing by 19 per cent on the existing Saint-Jérome line and the incoming Mascouche line.

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The AMT is planing to reduce its staff by 19 employees or four per cent of its labour force next year in order to keep costs under control.

Many commuters were unhappy with the proposed fare hikes.

Some who take the network’s busiest line, Deux-Montagnes, complain the increases aren’t justified.

“I think it’s an additional expense that I don’t want to pay,” Sandy Weigens said from outside his downtown Montreal office.

“There’s nothing to justify the extra expense, the fare hike.”

Weigens has been using the AMT trains for 15 years, mostly on the Deux-Montagnes line, but he doesn’t think service has changed significantly in that time.

“It hasn’t improved,” he said.

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The AMT is still forecasting an operating deficit of more than 11 per cent next year, but the passenger train company still has to find a way to balance the budget.

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