'Tis the season of transit woes.
As frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall return, thousands more Montreal-area residents are relying on public transportation. When highways become too hazardous, the metro becomes the safest option.
TL;DR STM president Philippe Schnobb has told La Presse that a new metro line is needed to reduce congestion during rush hour.
Already, the STM has recorded a 5.5% increase in ridership. If that trend continues, this winter could be one of the most miserable in recent memory for commuters.
The Montreal metro is severely overburdened. While the introduction of the new Azur metro cars was meant to alleviate some of that crowding, they will do little to address more long-term issues.
Thousands of people pack onto STM trains at rush hour. At Berri-UQAM station, the network's hub, STM officers must stand on platforms to organize anxious passengers.
This is why Montreal mayor Valérie Plante ascended to her office on the promise of a new STM "Pink" line that would run from Montreal North, through downtown, to Lachine in the west.
Such a line, she claims, is the only way to relieve the Orange line.
Today it is clear that the STM administration would support a similar project.
According to La Presse, Philippe Scnobb, the president of the STM, now claims that a new metro line circumventing Berri-UQAM station may be the only way to reduce major congestion.
This is exactly the path that Plante's Pink line would take, according to early renderings.
Le transport collectif bénéficie à l’ensemble des Montréalais.e.s, c’est pourquoi il est au cœur de mes priorités comme mairesse. Je suis fière de vous annoncer que le projet de la ligne rose avance, avec la création d'un bureau et d’un comité aviseur. #polmtl pic.twitter.com/J9OdFmCqhV— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) October 22, 2018
Of course, the current CAQ provincial government is vehemently opposed to the project.
The centre-right party has promised to prioritize suburban roads over inner city transit.
But these latest comments from Schnobb are definitely encouraging.
The STM is also coming off a bad week. Bus delays and breakdowns have dominated headlines this month. The possibility of a new metro line may just be more empty talk to placate furious customers.