Montreal's Controversial REM de l'Est Got Roasted By The Regional Transit Agency

The ARTM says the light-rail network wouldn't meet the needs of most East End Montrealers.

Contributing Writer
Montreal's Controversial REM de l'Est Got Roasted By The Regional Transit Agency

The Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) has released their official opinion about the REM de l'Est. They say the light-rail network wouldn't attract enough users to be worth the initial cost of building it, let alone the costs to maintain it.

The first reason cited for their decision was that the new rail wouldn't adequately meet the needs of the communities of Montreal's East End. The REM de l'Est would link Montréal-Nord and Pointe-aux-Trembles to the centre of the city via two branches that would converge in Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and then run roughly parallel to the STM's green line to boulevard Robert-Bourassa.

According to the ARTM, only 12% of trips made in the East End are commutes downtown. The funding for the new rail, the regional transit authority argues, could better serve the community by providing better transit options to places people are actually going.

The project also wouldn't encourage new use of public transit, making such a large investment in new transit infrastructures inadvisable, the ARTM says. They project that the REM de l'Est would simply pull public transit users from pre-existing modes of transportation, such as the metro's green line and the Mascouche commuter train. "In other words, the project poses a problematic competition issue with two major services of the existing network, which will still have residual capacity by 2031," the ARTM said in a press release on February 8.

With all this in mind, the ARTM believe that the REM de l'Est wouldn't be worth the upkeep costs — especially for the communities it would be meant to serve. "It could lead to an increase in municipal contributions by $98 million per year, including an additional financial burden for the communities served by the Mascouche train," the ARTM explained.

"It's important to improve public transit in this part of the metropolitan area, taking into account the needs of the residents of the East of the Island of Montreal and the North Shore," the ARTM concluded. And for the ARTM, the REM de l'Est just doesn't cut it.

Jenna Pearl
Contributing Writer
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