Commuters fed up with RTM train tardiness demand improvements

A group of Montrealers who use the Réseau de transport métropolitain (RTM) is fed up with the chronic delays that have been plaguing the train service this winter, and have launched a petition calling for improvements.

After a winter marked by delays, Trajectoire Québec launches petition calling for improvements

The RTM's Deux-Montagnes line has been subject to delays this winter. (Charles Contant/CBC)

A group of Montrealers who use the Réseau de transport métropolitain (RTM) is fed up with the chronic delays that have been plaguing commuter train service this winter.

Trajectoire Québec, a public transportation advocacy group, launched a petition on Monday calling for the RTM to develop an "action plan" to ensure trains arrive on time on the Deux-Montagnes line.

"It's quite simple. People just want to have reliable means of transportation," Philippe Cousineau Morin, the director of the organization, told Daybreak on Monday.

In a statement, the RTM said it is aware of the petition and is taking steps to improve the service.

"Far from remaining idle, our teams are hard at work day and night in order to make necessary checks, to respond quickly to the situations requiring our attention, find solutions and implement additional actions to ensure to have fewer impacts on the day-to-day lives of our users," spokeswoman Elaine Arsenault said in an email.

"I can reassure you that an action plan is already underway to improve reliability and bring back the punctuality of the train service to what it was in the past years.

Last month, director of operations Stéphane Lapierre detailed how snow accumulation and temperature swings have had a "major impact on operations."

Switchers on the tracks have been freezing even though they are supposed to be heated automatically, so rail staff are sometimes forced to operate them manually. That can take up to 20 minutes, Lapierre said.

Lapierre also detailed a number of other issues, some of which the RTM says are beyond its control, including problems with the signalling system, vehicles on railway overpasses, broken level crossing barriers and the passage of freight trains.

Regardless of what's causing the delays, Morin said the situation is unacceptable. People depend on the service to arrive at work on time, he said.

"I don't really [care] what are the real reasons," he said. 

He said the RTM should issue a service guarantee, pointing out that, in Toronto, the GO Transit service gives customers their money back if a train is more than 15 minutes late.

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