Deux-Montagnes mayor calls expected commuter train delays 'unacceptable'

The mayor of Deux-Montagnes says it's "unacceptable" that commuters will have at least 35 minutes tacked onto their usual travel time in and out of Montreal, and that the regional transit authority isn't listening to input from locals.

Mitigation measures during construction of new light rail network aren't good enough, says Denis Martin

Mayor Denis Martin is upset because he says the regional transit authority (ARTM) didn’t listen to elected officials on the North Shore, who made suggestions on how to soften the blow for commuters. (Charles Contant/CBC)

The mayor of Deux-Montagnes says it's "unacceptable" that commuters will have at least 35 minutes tacked onto their usual travel time in and out of Montreal, and that the regional transit authority isn't listening to input from locals.

Starting in 2020, work on the new light-rail train network means the Mount Royal Tunnel, which passes under the mountain, will be closed.

Trains on the Deux-Montagnes line will stop at Bois-Franc station in Saint-Laurent and a shuttle bus will be set up to ferry commuters between Bois-Franc and the Côte Vertu Metro station.

Deux-Montagnes Mayor Denis Martin told CBC that the additional bus and the metro ride will add more than a half hour to the average commute.

"Taking this route is unacceptable for us, for citizens, for users," said Martin. " We have to discuss, we have to be here with our citizens and listen to what they want."
Deux-Montagnes Mayor Denis Martin said he's not satisfied with the mitigation measures being proposed for commuters. (CBC)

Martin maintains that he's still firmly in support of the light-rail network project, but says he feels like the regional transit authority (ARTM) isn't listening to elected officials on the North Shore, who made suggestions on how to soften the blow.

He said for more than a year, he participated in committee after committee, trying to come up with solutions.

The municipal council is trying to arrange for shuttles to take citizens directly downtown from Deux-Montagnes instead.

On Thursday, the consortium building the REM light-rail network delivered its plan to ease the strain on users of Exo, which combines all train, bus and adapted transit services on Montreal's north and south shores.

Work on the REM line has already forced Exo to cancel four trains on the Deux-Montanges line and shift departure times on 23 trains.

From 2020 to 2022, parts of the line will be shut down entirely, affecting 15,000 users, the consortium said.

The ARTM, which is in charge of the decision, was not available for comment Saturday.

With files from CBC's Sarah Leavitt