Officials of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) are trying to put a positive spin on the progress of the all-electric light rail transit system for Greater Montreal.
More than 3,000 workers are on 30-plus work sites trying to deliver the network to the public by the end of 2024.
So far, three of the 26 stations have been built and 13.7 km of 67 km of track have been laid down.
“We’re looking at always opportunities to enhance the user experience and the experience of those who will live next to these systems,” Harout Chitilian, vice-president of corporate affairs, development and strategy, said at a press conference.
Officials are expecting the South Shore line linking Brossard with downtown Montreal to be finished and open to the public by next summer.
Tests on the rolling stock have been done in all weather conditions, with the automated and driverless trains reaching speeds of 100 km/h.
Chitilian expects the trains on this line will eventually carry 60,000 riders a day and eventually the entire network will attract 180,000 riders a day.
“That’s what’s expected in the original ridership study,” Jean-Marc Arbaud, the REM CEO said at the press conference.
But securing parking at two major stations in the West Island still hasn’t been accomplished.
There is no reserved parking for vehicles at the Fairview-Pointe-Claire and Kirkland stations despite both stop being built immediately adjacent to major shopping malls.
“The service will be put in action in the West Island in 2024, so we have three years in front of us to address the solutions and address them to the public,” Chitilian said.
So far, no work has begun on the future Trudeau Airport station and that line is the last link scheduled to be finished on the entire network, with a delivery date at the end of 2024.
The revised cost of the project is projected to be $6.9 billion, up from $5.5 billion in 2016.