Mitigation measures announced for frustrated commuters worried about REM delays, detours

image.jpg

MONTREAL -- More relief is coming for frustrated Exo train users as the Mount Royal Tunnel gets set to close for at least two years.

 After an outcry from train commuters, the CAQ government has unveiled new measures to keep the delays to a minimum when the closure begins on Jan. 6.

 "In the worst case, it will be the same time as the car, but we are working very, very hard to reduce the time," said Junior Transport Minister Chantale Rouleau.

According to Rouleau, the new deal with CN Rail prioritizes commuter traffic over freight trains in the Montreal corridor, allowing trains on the Mascouche line to divert around the closed tunnel.

Three of five trains each morning and night will be able to continue right to Central Station. The other two will end in Ahuntsic.

The much busier Deux-Montagnes line will have no such luck, however, with no track available to link it to CN Rail lines.

The CAQ said it would add more shuttle buses to and from downtown throughout the day, increasing them to 44 from the current 23.

"We have the best measures that can be put in under the circumstances. We continue to talk with people," said Rouleau.

Those talks have led to implementing some ideas from frustrated commuters – notably having four shuttle buses each rush hour taking people from the Mascouche station to Ste-Therese, getting users to the metro system via the St-Jerome line.

The original price tag announced in September for shuttle buses and other mitigation measures was $192 million. The deal with CN Rail and the extra trains and bus service adds another $30 million.