AMT director in the hot seat at public meeting
Some West Island train commuters got their chance to vent to the head of the metropolitan transit agency at a public meeting following a winter of discontent on the rails.
Joel Gauthier, addressing the public in Baie d'Urfe on Tuesday evening, promised better communication with real-time schedule updates available at stations and by cellphone.
"We're going to offer text messages ... so that if they're driving by car they don't have to be on the platform to know what time the train will come," said Gauthier.
The AMT faced a slew of criticism for breakdowns, delays and crowded cars. The agency faces additional embarrassment given that the problems coincided with an announcement of revised schedules and improved service.
Many commuters on the Deux-Montagnes and Dorion-Rigaud lines were chronically late for work and some even passed around petitions of protest.
At the time the AMT was criticized for failing to listen to public concerns and Gauthier admitted to a love-hate relation ship between the agency and the public that he says that has to change.
There will be a second public meeting on June 2 in Pierrefonds.
Gauthier recapped several announcements that the AMT has made previously, including 160 new double-decker cars as well as new 20 locomotives, all of which will begin to enter service this fall.
There will be new switches and new sheds where cars will be sheltered at night in the hopes of putting an end to frozen equipment.
But the AMT says further infrastructure upgrades are needed.
The agency doesn't own the tracks and they want money from the government to build new tracks to break bottlenecks in places such as Montreal West.