Deux-Montagnes train users protest transit service

Click to play video: 'Deux-Montagnes commuters stage protest over ongoing construction'
Deux-Montagnes commuters stage protest over ongoing construction
Commuters who use the Deux-Montagnes train held a protest to voice their frustrations over REM construction. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Apr 1, 2019

The crowd of protesters grew by the train-full as Deux-Montagnes commuters arriving at Gare Centrale station joined in on Monday’s demonstration.

READ MORE: REM officials lay out mitigation measures for commuters as construction ramps up

Commuters, signs in hand, voiced their frustration over the train’s service. More than 100 people yelled and made noise during the morning rush hour.

The Deux-Montagnes line, which serves 16,000 commuters, has been experiencing overcrowding, according to users.

Construction for the new light-rail system will cause a partial closure starting in 2020.

All passage on the rail system will be stopped as the tunnel that passes through Mount Royal, which will be closed.

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Transports Québec officials understand the frustration commuters have but point out the weight of the light-rail project.

“It is complicated to find a solution to mitigate the tunnel closure because this is an area that is strategic and we have over 10-million commutes per year,” said spokesperson Sarah Bensadoun.

READ MORE: REM construction to impact Deux-Montagnes train service

In March, the government announced a shuttle service that would pick up users at the Bois-Franc station starting in 2020.

Riders will be brought to the Côte-Vertu Metro station.

One issue is that the station is scheduled to undergo repairs for several months during that same time.

Alternative plans are presently being discussed, Bensadoun said.

The service is expected to add 35 to 45 minutes to the commute.

Longtime Deux-Montagnes train user Cedric Boileau organized the protest. He said the ride is already long enough.

“That’s a total of three hours a day — you add that up, it’s seven hours a week,” Boileau said.

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Officials did stress the growing pains of construction are temporary.

“We are working towards a greater project something that will give us the possibility to easily commute between the north and south shore,” Bensadoun said.

Some commuters like Stephan Brachar say they are finding it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m not winning anything besides going to the airport once a year,” Brachar said.

A complete closure is expected to be put into effect starting in 2021 and going until 2023.

A final mitigation plan, organizing alternative routes, will be rolled out as early as September 2019.

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