May 23, 2019 3:18 pm
Updated: May 23, 2019 5:42 pm

Quebec committing millions to study Montreal metro overcrowding

WATCH: Just two days after the provincial transport minister Francois Bonnardel rode the metro, he's promised to look at the problem of overcrowding. Bonnardel is committing several million dollars to study the overcrowding on the orange line. As Global's Amanda Jelowicki reports, Montreal's mayor remains hopeful the pink line will see the light of day.

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Just a few days after riding the metro with Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, Quebec’s transport minister is committing millions of dollars to study the overcrowding situation at the Berri-Uqam station and the orange line.

The mayor had asked Francois Bonnardel to ride the metro repeatedly, accusing him of being out of touch with the needs of Montrealers.

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READ MORE: Quebec transport minister rides Metro’s orange line with Montreal mayor

He finally did it Tuesday, along with Chantal Rouleau, the minister responsible for the Montreal region. While the ride didn’t convince them the pink line needs to be built, they are committed to helping ease the overcrowding issue.

The government is spending $5 million over 18 months to study the congested orange line, and to come up with solutions. This study is complementary to studies already being done by agencies in Montreal.

Plante says she’s content her overture to the Minister is paying off.

“It is very important because it shows the government has heard my message,” Plante said. “They understand there is an issue, there is a problem with Berri-Uqam and the orange line station.”

WATCH: Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel took a ride on the Montreal Metro together. Global’s Dan Spector reports.

Plante calls the Berri-Uqam station and the orange line the “heart of the metro.”  It’s the busiest line on the network, with 20,000 users at morning rush hour.

It reached capacity eight years ago, and now it takes people two or three times to get on in the morning.

For commuters, solutions can’t come soon enough.

19-year-old student Meryem Elatrassi says she’s nervous taking the metro at rush hour.

“I already hurt my leg and it’s so scary when it’s full,” she says. “I don’t take this risk, I wait for the other one to arrive,”Elatrassi told Global News.

READ MORE: Plante announces creation of new bureau, advisory committee for Pink Line metro project

What the provincial study won’t focus on though, is the pink line.

A local agency is already doing that. The transport minister has indicated it’s not a viable option. While Plante isn’t giving up hope, she is open to other ideas.

“Ultimately what I want is solutions, so if it’s not exactly the pink line and it’s another colour or it’s another technology, but that fills the needs that the pink line has been able to target, then fair enough, I will be really open to that.”

READ MORE: STM creating new express bus line, adding trains to Metro’s orange line to alleviate congestion

For frustrated commuters, it will likely take some time before their rides get any easier.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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