Montreal commuter trains will be running their normal schedules on Tuesday and Wednesday after the city's transit agency said it had resolved a staffing shortage.
The Réseau de transport métropolitain (RTM) announced Monday afternoon that was no longer planning to cancel departures on its Deux-Montagnes and Mascouche rail lines on July 4th and July 5th.
The RTM cited a joint effort with CN and Bombardier Transport to find the two conductors necessary to fulfil all its schedule commitments.
But the last-minute solution only came after passengers on Deux-Montagnes and Mascouche lines saw scheduled departures cancelled Monday morning.
Lack of conductors
Montreal's newly reconstituted transit agency — comprising the commuter rail agency formerly known as the AMT — realized it was facing a staffing shortage only days after a contract with Bombardier took effect.
As part of the contract, Bombardier agreed to provide conductors for the RTM's commuter trains.
The agency initially warned commuters over the weekend that it would be forced to cancel several departures between Monday and Wednesday.
"We realize the short notice can create some frustration — we'll work closely with the supplier in order to make sure this does not happen again," Caroline Julie Fortin, spokesperson for the RTM had said.
The transit agency sent out notices online, on social media and by text message to let its riders know about the cancellations Sunday evening.
But Monday morning, a number of suburban commuters arrived to find their usual trains cancelled. Several complained, saying it was inconvenient because of the amount of time between trains and because there aren't many other public transit options to get into the city.
Bombardier aware of situation
Marc-André Lefebvre, head of communications and public relations of Bombardier Canada, said the company was only made aware of the shortage last week.
He said they were told "at the last minute" that several staff members who were to be transferred over to the new supplier were either untrained or unavailable to work this week.
Lefebvre had promised the company would hire additional employees from around the province to deal with the delays.
The transit agency has cancelled some trains due to shortages before, especially during vacation periods, but "it is rare that we have to cancel that many trains," Fortin said.