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Montreal commuters would rather better train service than discount

Click to play video: 'Is a discount enough to entice exo train commuters?' Is a discount enough to entice exo train commuters?
In an effort to encourage more people to use public transit, transit authorities are offering a yearly discount, with some conditions. But as Global's Dan Spector reports, not many commuters were excited by the deal – Oct 19, 2018

Montreal commuters who rely on the train have grown frustrated with countless delays and service interruptions over the past year, and it appears many aren’t interested in a new offer by transit authorities.

“There is something wrong with this train every week,” said commuter Linda Young from the Pierrefonds-Roxboro train station.

READ MORE: Protests held over reduced service on Deux-Montagnes train line

Mechanical problems with commuter trains have been a regular occurrence since construction on the new electric Réseau express métropolitain (REM) transit system ramped up. As a result, train service has also been reduced.

Last winter, weather-related issues also caused delays on the train lines. Some commuters say they are not optimistic about what is to come when the cold sets in this year.

“Winter is coming and the service keeps getting worse and worse,” Laura Velez said.

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READ MORE: Authorities update headaches to come for Deux-Montagnes line commuters

Exo, the recently-renamed transit authority that serves Montreal’s northern and southern ring, is now offering a new financial break for users.

In an effort to court more commuters, Exo is offering a discount on annual opus plus passes. For a limited time, users will get two months free if they have never signed up for the annual pass.

The offer, which represents annual savings of over $200, cannot be combined with the 30 per cent monthly pass discount for Deux-Montagnes line users.

WATCH: What can commuters expect on the Deux-Montagnes train line?

Click to play video: 'What can commuters expect on the Deux-Montagnes train line?' What can commuters expect on the Deux-Montagnes train line?
What can commuters expect on the Deux-Montagnes train line? – Sep 18, 2018

While some users say they appreciate the offer and plan to use the discount, others say it misses the mark.

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“It’s not a money thing,” Xiao Rui said.

In the West Island, some commuters say they are looking into other options, such as using the bus or driving to get to and from work.

“I’m ready to try a different method altogether,” Young said.

Rui, for her part, said the spotty train service has made her consider finding another job.

READ MORE: Class action lawsuit authorization requested against exo over ‘unreliable’ train service

Other trains users like Tammy Chenier say they feel trapped.

“You’re stuck,” she said. “You can’t drive downtown [with the] cost, gas mileage, everything. We’re held hostage to a certain degree.”

Public transit authorities have promised to announce by Christmas mitigation measures when REM construction reaches its next phase in 2020. That is when the Deux-Montagnes line will no longer go all the way downtown.

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