With Deux-Montagnes train closure coming, commuters worry about COVID-19 on replacement buses

Construction on the REM light rail system will resume on May 11 but the plan to bus passengers during commuter train closures was devised before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The construction includes work on the Mount-Royal Tunnel, which the Deux-Montagnes train line goes through.

According to Exo, shuttle buses will replace the Deux-Montagnes line.

Commuter Tiara Hammond said the idea of taking a bus during the crisis is worrying.

“This is my life they're risking and right now, yes I believe we need to start the economy and get things moving but is it at the risk of my life and the lives of other people?” she said. “We don't absolutely have to shut down the trains right now. It's already been postponed for a very long time. Why not postpone it a little bit longer and bring down the numbers?”

Francis Millaire of the Deux-Montagnes Train User Commitee said Exo should verify the amount of people who are using the train before the closure takes place.

“They're going to pack us into buses and ridership is about 13 per cent so it might be possible to social distance,” he said. “But we know that May 11, a lot of businesses wills tart again and it would probably be safer to wait until we know how many people are on the train at that point to make that decision.”

Millaire said the focus should be on providing a safe, sanitary public transit service.

“People will be brought to the metro at Cote-Vertu. How many people will be in the metro on May 11? People will have to resume work. Is it a good idea to have us converage to the metro at that point?”

The STM has previously announced it would up the frequency of cleaning in its buses and metro cars.

REM officials refused to comment but Premier Francois Legault said commuters will have to follow the recommendations made last week, such as wearing a face covering.

The train, bus, metro commute from Deux-Montagnes is expected to last for at least four years. 

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