Pink line would have made life easier during big metro shutdown: Plante

Mayor Valerie Plante met the media on Wednesday morning to comment on the metro shutdown of a few hours earlier.

A fight at the Champ-de-Mars metro station at around 8:10 a.m. led to pepper spray entering the tunnels. Champ-de-Mars is just one stop away from the Berri-UQAM station, a major transfer point where the orange, green and yellow lines meet.

All three lines were shut down for more than a half an hour. When trains started rolling again at around 8:45, many of them were full, and platforms were jam-packed across the system for some time after that.

Plante told the news conference she was pleased the emergency system in place worked as it should have — a system which includes city buses that are pressed into service when the metro goes down.

But she also suggested that had her much talked-about pink line been up and running, it would have made getting to work a lot easier for the roughly 250,000 people who pass through the Berri-UQAM station every weekday morning.

"If there's any other plan that can assure that the heart of the metro is secure and useable when there's an incident or when there's too [many] people — well, fair enough," Plante said. "But I do think the pink line is a good measure, a good project."

The proposal would see a metro line run through downtown Montreal, parallel to the orange and green lines, and would go through the Plateau Mont-Royal and Rosemont boroughs, without a stop at Berri-UQAM. Part of the idea behind the proposal, Plante said, is to relieve congestion at Berri-UQAM, which is often crowded even at the best of times.

At total of 15 people were affected by the pepper spray. Four were taken into the care of Urgences-Santé, while one needed to be taken to hospital for observation.

The system was shut down so that maintenance workers could properly ventilate the system.

The Lionel-Groulx station was a madhouse at around 9 a.m., about 15 minutes after trains started rolling again. (Richard Deschamps/CJAD 800)