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Montreal metro: Delays, delays, delays

They could zoom through underground tunnels at high speeds, transporting passengers to their destinations comfortably and efficiently. Canada's two new subways were considered marvellous feats of modern engineering in the 1950s and '60s. As the decades passed, Toronto's subway and Montreal's metro became more than just technological marvels — they were also places for people to meet, musicians to perform and artists to display their work.

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Montrealers are frustrated when the metro doesn't arrive on time. Students are late for class, business people are late for meetings and it's all because of metro delays. According to officials from the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the situation would improve if they could update some of the old equipment and technology. But here's the rub -- there's a high price tag on these improvements, and when asked for additional funding, the Quebec government's answer is "maybe." 
. Shortly after this Oct. 10, 2000 news clip aired, the Quebec government announced its commitment to help fund metro repairs and updates. The province said it would fund 75 per cent of the cost of a new $160-million (over four years) plan to improve metro equipment in order to reduce service delays.

. This new improvement program was essentially an extension of the STM's Réno-Métro" program -- the first stage of which began in 1997 and included station improvements such as new escalators, lighting, signs, mechanical systems and new station doors.

. Money for maintenance, improvements and construction has always been an issue throughout the history of rapid underground transportation. In other Canadian cities, financial considerations led municipalities to opt for the more economical LRT (light rapid -- or rail -- transit) systems rather than traditional subways. These include:
. Edmonton (which launched its LRT in 1978, just in time for the Commonwealth Games)
. Calgary (1981)
. Vancouver (1986)

. Toronto also added an LRT extension to its subway system in Scarborough in 1985.
. Light rail transit is technologically simpler and less expensive than a subway, and the vehicles are lighter than subway cars. The drawback, however, is that it generally can't carry as many passengers.

. When Toronto added its five-station, 6.4-kilometre Sheppard subway line in 2002, the total cost was approximately $934 million.
Since the original 7.4-kilometre Yonge line was opened in 1954 there have been numerous additions and expansions to Toronto's subway system. In 2004, the entire subway network stretches 70 kilometres.
. Each day, approximately 1.3 million people ride Toronto's subway.

. Montreal's system has also grown immensely since its inception. By 2004 the metro tracks stretched a total of 65 kilometres. The new Line 5 (or the blue line) was added between 1986 and 1988, bringing the total to four lines. In 2002, construction began on a three-station, 5.2-kilometre extension along Line 2 (the orange line) to Laval, which is expected to be complete in 2006.
. Every day more than 600,000 people use the Montreal metro system.
Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: Oct. 18, 2000
Guest(s): Guy Chevrette, Marcel Gregoire
Reporter: Lynda Calvert
Duration: 1:43

Last updated: May 1, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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