LRT proposal in Montréal
Montreal is celebrating its 375th anniversary this year and there are numerous actions going on in the field of public transportation. Other than the ongoing change in governance and numerous transportation conferences hosted in and around Montréal, a major public transportation project has been proposed in spring 2016: a 67-km light rail transit (LRT) network linking downtown Montréal, South Shore, West Island, North Shore and the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau International Airport. It includes 27 stations, runs 20 hours a day and 7 days a week. Once completed, the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) would be the largest public transportation infrastructure project in Montréal since the construction of the metro system, first inaugurated in 1966, as well as the third largest automated transportation system in the world. The project is notable in several aspects:
- The REM offers a significant upgrade to current public transportation services. It replaces the reserved bus lane on the Champlain Bridge connecting Montréal and the South Shore which is used daily by more than 20,000 commuters during the AM peak. The bus lane, along with the downtown bus terminus and its access are currently saturated and cannot accommodate more service. The REM also improves significantly the level of service and coverage in the West Island and North Shore where current commuter rail services are either saturated or cannot increase frequency due to track traffic. The project creates a link with the international airport with a guided mode in an exclusive right-of-way which increases the reliability for travelers and workers alike. The REM will also have many intermodal connections and fare integration with the existing transit network, forming a complete integrated system. Needless to say, the REM will run on clean hydroelectricity, providing frequent, efficient and reliable service.
- The REM constitutes a “public-public” partnership, a first in Québec. The project is financed by CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which is a crown corporation that primarily manages public and parapublic pension and insurance plans in Québec. This innovative solution generates healthy returns by investing in commercially sound projects; maintains the overall strategy and approach of investing in Québec and secures the future retirement of the Quebecers who are themselves the beneficiaries of the infrastructure and service.
- The REM represents an investment of approximately 5.9 billion Canadian dollars (or about 4.2 billion Euro). This project of strategic importance will deliver major economic, social and environmental benefits by creating jobs, reduce greenhouse emission, decrease traffic congestion and allow future development along the route. It will improve the quality of life of Montrealers.
Continual progress in planning, review, negotiation and consultation are currently underway: a comprehensive ridership report has been published; the BAPE (Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement) report that reviews the REM project has been made public; negotiations among major stakeholders are ongoing and several open houses have been held for the public to learn more about the project and the stations. All of these aim to ensure that the project comes to fruition with the best possible arrangement.
You are encouraged to take a look at the proposed REM project on the CDPQ Infra website. It contains presentation, documentation and renderings of the route and stations, as well as the up-to-date information on the project.
Updated : March 15, 2017