Commuters bracing for a partial closure on the Deux-Montagnes train line set to begin in March are considering working from home in order to avoid lengthy daily trips to and from the office.
The closure of the Mount Royal tunnel as part of work on Montreal’s light rail network is expected to create a longer and more difficult commute for 18,000 riders heading in from the north shore.
Karen Tea, who takes the Deux-Montagnes train line, is on board with staying out of the city and working from home if it means not spending extra time on commuting.
“It’s a good idea,” she said. “There is no way to get downtown with the metro or car. It’s just easier.”
Labour lawyer Marianne Plamondon explained that telecommuting or working from home could be a good solution for workers and employers during the partial train shutdown.
“That is a lot of time away from your family and spending time in your car, which heightens your stress and there is no productivity whatsoever,” she said. “So all jobs (where it’s) possible for teleworking, it seems to be the best answer.”
While there will be mitigation measures in place for the disruptions, the work means trains will no longer bring commuters directly downtown. As part of the plan, train users will also have to use buses or the Montreal Metro, which could mean at least an additional 45 minutes to their daily commute.
As a result, the Business Development Bank of Canada said it put in a working group and measures to support workers impacted by the Réseau express métropolitain work.
The Crown corporation said employees affected by the service disruption are being offered flexible work hours and teleworking from home or other offices.
“We want to offer the flexibility our employees need to support entrepreneurs,” said chief human resources officer Marie-Chantal Lamothe in a statement.
Aside from cutting down on lengthy trips, Plamondon said telecommuting can help companies cut down on costs associated with office space. It also encourages productivity, she added.
“It’s proven that employees that work from home are also more productive because they don’t have distractions,” she said.
Ubaldo Pace, who takes the train to Montreal every day, said he spends at least 50 minutes commuting in the morning. He hopes that more companies will consider allowing employees to work from home during the service interruption.
“It is a strong selling point to have a work-life balance, especially if you have family obligations,” he said.
The closure of the Mount Royal tunnel is expected to begin on March 30.
Montreal’s light rail network is expected to include 67 kilometres of tracks that will link Montreal, the south shore, the West Island and the north shore. It is expected to be completed by 2024.