South Shore commuters woke to a new Panama bus terminus Monday morning.
The popular Brossard bus station has been completely reconfigured to make way for the ongoing construction work for the Réseau express métropolitain (REM).
The new layout will be in place for the next two years, according to Brossard Mayor Doreen Assaad as crews build one of three South Shore REM stations at the Panama location.
The new bus terminal location is adjacent to Highway 10 with access from Pelletier Boulevard only a metres away from the previous location.
The move is meant to ease the flow of traffic for the Réseau de Transport de Longueuil (RTL) as work persists.
Equipped with 17 docking bays, bus service will not be affected by the move, according to RTL officials.
Presently, the South Shore bus authority is functioning with half its fleet.
Officials say buses are slowly increasing passenger capacity as the province gradually reopens amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Most buses are sitting at 35 per cent capacity, according to RTL spokesperson Alicia Lynchberg.
Panama parking, which Mayor Assaad called a “sensitive subject”, has not been altered; 1,200 spaces remain available to commuters while construction continues.
RTL staff will be on hand to direct and inform commuters for the first weeks, as they become accustomed to the new space.
“I guess it’s modular transitions as people slowly get used to the new way of being,” Assaad said.
“For the time being however everything is continuing as before.”
The future Panama REM station will be the largest of the three in Brossard.
This increase in passenger traffic has Brossard city council on edge.
Assaad said she is concerned about the long-term vision of the area and what it will look like once it’s all completed.
“There will be a certain density but we want it in harmony with the environment around it,” Assad said.
“This will become the downtown, of not only Brossard but of the South Shore.”
The price of the temporary station is apart of the total REM project, according to spokesperson Emmanuelle Rouillard-Moreau.
The light rail network will 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 2023. REM is slated to cost $6.5 billion.