Ferry service in Montreal’s east end to expand after ‘successful’ pilot project

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WATCH: Commuters living in the east end of the city will have another way to get to work this summer. After a successful pilot project last summer, ferry service between Pointe-aux-Trembles and the Old Port is expanding. Global's Dan Spector explains – Mar 4, 2019

After the launch of a pilot project in 2018, ferry service between Pointe-Aux-Trembles, in Montreal’s east end, and the city’s Old Port is expanding this summer.

People living in the east end will once again be able to leave traffic gridlock behind and take a boat to work.

“Last year, we did it for a week. This year, we will do it for 23 weeks, seven days a week in the morning and the end of the day,” said Chantal Rouleau, Quebec’s junior transport minister and the minister responsible for Montreal.

READ MORE: Water taxi starts between Pointe-aux-Trembles and Montreal’s Old Port

The trial run, which took place at the end of May, was considered a success; this year, the ferries will run from May until October.

“People liked it. They supported diminish[ing] a bit of traffic, especially on Notre-Dame [Street], people coming from [the] east going downtown. I think it’s a great avenue to look at,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
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According to a call for tenders, the boats will carry about 100 people and 30 bikes each. They will run every 30 minutes during rush hour, every 60 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. and every hour on weekends.

The price per ride has not yet been set, though during the pilot project it was $3.25 — the same as the bus and Metro.

“I think the people will like this kind of transportation,” said Rouleau, the former mayor of Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles.

“Going on the the Saint Lawrence River during the summer is fantastic. When you go to work on the ferry, it is so relaxing.”

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“We need to see how it will evolve. What I think we need is to consider [in the coming] years is: do we want to expand? Do we want to have different places where we can get on board?” said Plante.

Traffic expert Rick Leckner said he likes the idea, but thinks the ferries need to be bigger and more frequent.

“Other cities do this, but usually you’re talking hundreds or thousands of people an hour, but it’s a step in the right direction,” he told Global News.

Though Leckner doesn’t see the ferry making a huge dent in traffic, he says any little bit will help.

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