September 9, 2019 6:27 pm

REM construction means more commuters on Montreal metro’s orange line

The western part of the Montreal metro’s orange line will soon become more crowded.

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It’s going to get a lot more crowded at the Côte-Vertu metro station next year.

The construction of the light rail system (REM) will cause the closure of the Mont-Royal train tunnel in the Town of Mont-Royal as of January. That means there will be service interruptions along the Mascouche and Two Mountains train routes.

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“People who usually use the Two Mountains and Mascouche lines — it’s going to add considerable time,” traffic analyst Rick Leckner noted.

A $192-million mitigation plan is being put into place.  It includes shuttles to bypass the construction zone, new infrastructure to accommodate the new services and fare adjustments.

But it means more crowded metro cars and it’ll take more time to get around.

“Bottom line is it’s still going to be tough,” said Leckner.

The list of measures include:

  • An Exo rail shuttle between the Two Mountains and Bois-Franc stations.
  • A bus shuttle between Two Mountains and Mansfield downtown.
  • An STM bus to ferry people between Bois-Franc and Côte-Vertu metro stations.
  • Another STM bus to move commuters between the Roxboro train station and the Côte-Vertu metro, with a stop at Sunnybrooke.

For the orange line, it’ll mean more strain on an already overcrowded system. Authorities estimate that with these mitigation measures, an additional 8,000 passengers per rush hour will use the Côte-Vertu metro stop. That’s on top of the 30,000 or so who move through that station daily, according to the Montreal Transit Authority (STM) officials.

READ MORE: Kirkland mayor fears lack of negotiations could hinder parking at future REM station

“For now, there’s room at Côte-Vertu to accommodate more passengers,” STM board chair Philippe Schnobb told Global News.

They plan to add 50 more buses to handle the extra passengers.

Alan DeSousa, mayor of the St. Laurent borough where the Côte-Vertu metro and Bois-Franc train stations are located, is cautiously optimistic.

“The key is going to be, several things have to fall into place,” he said. “The buses will definitely need to be there, and if there are delays with the buses then there’s going to be a problem.”

Authorities do have plans to entice commuters to leave their cars at home. For example, the rail shuttle between Two Mountains and Bois-Franc, and the bus shuttles between Bois-Franc and Côte-Vertu will be free for the Two Mountains line users. They want the public to know that no matter the inconvenience, it’ll still take longer and be more expensive to drive into town.

They say they’ll add more buses if needed.

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

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