Montreal

Quebec's transport minister fails to see Pink after ride on Orange line

François Bonnardel finally took a ride on the Montreal Metro's packed Orange line, but it didn't convince him the Pink line is necessary.

Montreal Valérie Plante continues push for Pink line and other solutions to relieve pressure on transit system

Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel, right, exits the Metro with Montreal Valérie Plante on Tuesday. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel finally took a ride on the Metro's packed Orange line, but it didn't convince him the Pink line is necessary.

Bonnardel said after a trip during the morning rush hour the province is working to alleviate pressure and "we have many projects on the table."

When asked about the Pink line, Bonnardel said the province already has a plan in place to improve mobility.

Bonnardel acknowledged the Metro wasn't necessarily as busy as usual, given it was a sunny day after a long weekend and many university students have wrapped up classes.

"That being said, we know, I mean we've all seen pictures and videos being posted of how crowded it can get," he told reporters.

Tuesday's ride came after repeated invitations from Mayor Valérie Plante to take the Orange line during peak hours.

She had suggested that the minister was "out of touch" when he dismissed her proposed Pink line.

Bonnardel previously stated the Pink line was not "a priority in the short, medium and long term."

Plante said Tuesday it was important that the transport minister witness the problem on the Orange line first hand. 

Transport Minister François Bonnardel, centre, took the Metro on Tuesday, but wasn't persuaded the Pink line is necessary. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

She said it's good news that more people are relying on public transit to get to work but, at the same time, the congestion shows improvements are needed.

"We have to find solutions together," she said.

Plante continues Pink line push

The proposed Pink line would link Montréal-Nord to downtown with nearly 20 stations without going through Berri-UQAM station.

Montreal set aside $1 million in its most recent budget to study the plan.

Quebec Premier François Legault, however, has said he favours expanding the Blue line to the east and hasn't earmarked any money for the Pink line.

Marie Lalli, who commutes by Metro, is all-too familiar with the crowding on the Orange line.

She leaves early with hopes of beating the rush, but she often finds herself waiting every morning for a few trains to pass before she finds room.

"I leave at 6:30 in the morning to be able to avoid the 7:30 jam inside the Metro," she told CBC News on Tuesday. "You sometimes get a seat."

Marie Lalli takes the metro every morning. She leaves super early to avoid the crowds, but often still ends up having to wait for a few metros to pass before she can get on. (Verity Stevenson/CBC)

Hearing that the transport minister was taking the Metro for a ride, she said it will give him a chance to see what Montrealers go through every day just to get to work.

It's always full, she said, and a new Metro line would "be good."

With files from Verity Stevenson and Radio-Canada

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