PIERREFONDS-ROXBORO – The tens of thousands of AMT riders on the passenger rail network’s busiest line, Deux-Montagnes, are feeling deceived by the commuter train service.
New double decker trains with increased capacity were supposed to be delivered in 2012, but the 31,000 daily riders will have to keep waiting for those larger capacity cars to arrive.
The AMT doesn’t plan to role out the new multi-level trains until 2017.
“They don’t seem like they’re ever going to arrive,” AMT rider Sandy Weigens told Global News.
“They were promised years ago.”
Weigens, a 15 year train user, feels deceived by the AMT’s empty promises.
“It’s very disappointing…the carrot at the end of the stick keeps getting further and further away,” Weigens said.
The Deux-Montagnes line is the busiest on the network, but in recent years ridership has dropped.
There were 0.9 per cent fewer riders in 2014 compared to 2013; and 1.5 per cent less than in 2012.
The decrease in ridership is being blamed on a number of issues:
- The overcrowded single level trains filled beyond capacity
- The lack of parking places in AMT lots
- The failure to deliver larger capacity double decker trains
“I know people who come here in the morning. They try to take the train,” Jean-Karim Metwalli told Global News while waiting for the 7:31 a.m. train at the Roxboro-Pierrefonds station.
“Then they have to rush to Sunnybrooke to try and find a spot there and they end up driving downtown.”
Some users feel buoyed that the new president of the AMT, Paul Côté, will eventually deliver on the agency’s longstanding promise of bringing in double deckers cars, similar to what’s found on the AMT’s other lines.
The rail service bought the Deux-Montagnes train line from CN Rail last year with the intent of building a second set of tracks to run between Sunnybrooke and downtown.
The single set of tracks makes it more difficult to add more trains.
In addition to dealing with the infrastructure issues and ordering new hardware for passengers, the AMT will also have to deal with it’s operating budget deficit.
The passenger rail service was in the red by more than $55 million in 2014.