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Montreal's REM Train Is More Efficient Than Ottawa's LRT & It's Not Even Built Yet

REM managers should look to Ottawa to find out what NOT to do.
Staff Writer
Montreal's REM Train Is More Efficient Than Ottawa's LRT & It's Not Even Built Yet
  • To many's surprise, the construction of Montreal's REM has been making incredible progress since the project began in 2018.
  • Unlike the REM, Ottawa's Confederation Line, the city's largest transit project ever, has faced numerous difficulties.
  • Read our comparisons of Montreal's REM and Ottawa's LRT below!

Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: Montreal is actually being super-efficient and is already seeing huge success during the construction of the Réseau express métropolitain light rail (REM). Construction for Montreal's REM began in 2018 and incredible progress has already been made. The first lines are set to open by 2021 and already, public consultants are praising the projet's potential. The REM will have 67-kilometres of tracks with automated trains running all day long.

With a projected cost of over $6 billion, the REM will become an essential aspect of Montreal's public transit system, connecting the suburbs to downtown like never before. The project is set to be 100% finished by 2023. 

While the REM is a paragon of efficiency and careful planning, Ottawa's Confederation Line has already seen dozens of setbacks and problems in less than 8 weeks of operation. As Montreal's closest neighbour with a light rail line, it's interesting to compare both projects. 

The Confederation Line is Ottawa's largest public transit project to date. With 12.5-kilometres of track and servicing 13 stations, the Confederation Line is nowhere near the scale of the REM. Though it's still not finished (2025 projected), Ottawa's Confederation Line has a long way to go and is already facing way too many problems. 

Is the Confederation Line a look into what's in store for the REM or will Montreal's light train continue to chug along without a hitch?

According to CBC News, Ottawa's Confederation Line has broken down "31 times in the last 53 days" which has caused more than 20 hours of disruptions in one week. While the need to iron out some kinks is normal, Ottawa's LRT has seen more than enough in less than 2 months of operations. 

The main issues facing Ottawa's LRT include the computers that control the train, the train doors, and the rail switches, according to Global News.

Along with overcrowded buses, missed connections, and trains simply not showing up, riders in Ottawa are extremely frustrated. 

[rebelmouse-image 26888582 photo_credit="O-Train Confederation Line" expand=1 original_size="1024x768"] O-Train Confederation Line

Computer problems are what's making it difficult for trains to operate and show up to the stations on time. I don't know if you've ever been to Ottawa, but their public transportation is anything but reliable, so it's not like riders can hop on the metro or bus if there are major issues. And of course, issues always pop up during rush hours. 

[rebelmouse-image 26888583 photo_credit="O-Train Confederation Line" expand=1 original_size="1088x600"] O-Train Confederation Line

In an all-too-familiar turn of events, Ottawa city officials are blaming the company that maintains the LRT for the countless service delays and issues. The city apparently pays the company some $5 million a month to maintain the railway and the trains but claims that they've fallen short on promises. 

And finally, the LRT in Ottawa has already created so many problems that the mayor, Jim Watson, pledged to bring back 40 buses that were taken out of service and pledged an extra $9.5 million to improve Ottawa's bus service. 

So, how does the REM fit into all this?

READ ALSO:New Blue Line Metro Stations Are Now Being Designed, Here's What To Expect

Keeping in mind that the REM is nowhere close to being finished, we can take Ottawa's LRT issues only as a cautionary tale. I mean, who knows, once the REM finished, you might see an article titled "The REM Is Totally Broken & Montreal Is Going To Riot," so stay tuned. 

However, one rail line's failures are another one's successes. The REM is going to be huge and will definitely have some problems at first, but so far, everything is coming together according to plan. 

Construction is moving along uncharacteristically efficiently and unlike Ottawa's Confederation Line, the REM will be fully integrated into existing infrastructure. 

The trains themselves are seemingly more effective than Ottawa's, as they feature double doors that won't get jammed, a fully-automated system, extra-wide seats, and noise reduction features. Ottawa's trains have already seen countless systems malfunctions, heating that doesn't work, and parts that fall off in transit. 

Basically, the REM is going off without a hitch (so far) and Ottawa's hastily-thought out and troublesome Confederation Line seems to be more problematic than it's worth.

Next time you're in Ottawa, take a trip on the Confederation Line and let us know how it is! To find out more about Ottawa's LRT, visit its official website

The first REM trains are set to roll out in 2021, with the project being completely finished by 2023. 

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