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Authorities update headaches to come for Deux-Montagne line commuters

WATCH: How do transit authorities plan to maintain train service on the Deux-Montagnes line? As Global's Dan Spector reports, each step in the REM construction project makes it a little more difficult.

If you take the Deux-Montagnes or Mascouche train into the city, you’ll be seeing more and more construction out the window.

“The complexity is to keep the service running while they do the work,” said Jean-Vincent Lacroix a spokesman for the REM.

At the existing Mont-Royal station in TMR, the beginnings of a new REM station can be seen.

As it’s being built, public transit authorities are trying to keep the Deux-Montagnes line rolling.

“Now we have to secure the work site to make sure workers can work near the train to start building the future stations of the REM at Mont-Royal and Canora,” Lacroix explained.

The construction is the reason there are fewer departures on the Deux-Montagnes line these days.

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Both directions have to share one track between Du Ruisseau and Central Station.

Since the service cutback came into effect, authorities say there’s been a six per cent drop in ridership. They hope that’s because people are opting for other forms of public transit.

“We’re launching … an important communication campaign to present some alternatives,” Lacroix said.

Authorities say they’ll be handing out pamphlets explaining other options you can use from every station on the line.

READ MORE: REM construction blamed for new commuter train delays

“We’re not asking everyone to change their habits, but those who can must consider it,” said Simon Charbonneau of the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain.

Once 2020 hits, commuters will no longer be able to get downtown on the train.

“Our goal is to keep the trains of Deux Montagnes line in service as long as possible until 2020 when we have to completely shut down from Du Ruisseau to Gare Central to finish the work and put in operation this segment in 2022,” Lacroix said.

So what will be the option for people using the Deux Montagnes line?

Authorities aren’t ready to say yet, but promise to unveil a plan before Christmas.

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READ MORE: REM construction at South Shore parking lot frustrates drivers

“We’re working on that night and day,” Charbonneau said.

Speaking of Christmas, officials hope to give riders the gift of a delay-free winter this year.

“The systems we had problems with are being updated to be ready for next winter,” said Caroline-Julie Fortin, a spokesperson for Exo.

Authorities said over 14,000 riders have taken advantage of rate discounts offered in relation to the inconveniences they’ve faced.