Strong support for water taxi service between Montreal's east end and Old Port, company says

The trial run took passengers from Pointe-aux-Trembles to the Clock Tower quay in Montreal’s Old Port. The run took 25 minutes.

Trial run in May attracted 700 people, and 97 per cent said they would use it on regular basis

The shuttle service between Pointe-aux-Trembles and Montreal's Old Port in May takes about 25 minutes. (Radio-Canada)

A survey has found strong support for a water taxi service between Pointe-aux-Trembles in the Montreal's east end and the city's Old Port, CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada, is reporting.

More than 700 people tried out the shuttle service during a trial run May 27 and 28 and the company that provided the service found 97 per cent of users would use it if it was made a permanent transit option.

"We saw very clearly that it's an initiative that people appreciated and encouraged," said Normand Noël, who captained the water taxi. Noël is also the president of Croisières Navark, one of the companies angling to provide the service.

The trial run took passengers from Pointe-aux-Trembles to the Clock Tower Quay in Montreal's Old Port. The run took 25 minutes.

The original plan was for passengers to be dropped off at the McGill Quay, but high water levels made that impossible.

Noël said his company has been pushing the idea of water taxi since 2005, but it's been a hard sell.

"Everyone believes a South Shore to Montreal link would work, but people in the east end are also looking for public transport alternatives," he said.

He said the pieces are in place to get the project going quickly.

Borough studying the option

The interest in the project is not lost on the Rivières-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles borough, but mayor Chantal Rouleau says it's too early to say if it will become a permanent commuting option.

"It's full potential has to be validated," she said. "We're pursuing our analyses in terms of necessary investments and partnerships."

Rouleau said one aspect they need to understand is whether the service could be offered through the winter, and whether commuters would use it if that was the case.

"That's the kind of question we need answered," she said.

A 2016 study by Montreal's transit authority found that between 200 and 1,000 people would use the shuttle service everyday.

With files from Radio-Canada's Sébastien Desrosiers