Deux-Montagnes commuters frustrated by REM construction pains
People who depend on the Deux-Montagnes train line say they are growing more frustrated by the week.
The commuter rail line now shuts down every weekend because of the work preparing for the new REM light-rail train – and crews won’t completely finish work there until 2023.
The REM is one of the largest public transit projects in Quebec's history, and is meant to facilitate commuting for transit users in the Greater Montreal Area, but some are finding it a hassle in the meantime.
“They bought here to have easy train service, but they can't wait five years,” said hairstylist Karine Champagne whose salon is just outside the Grand-Moulin station.
Champagne said she’s losing business because her clients can't get to her on the weekends. Others have told her they're looking to move, because they can’t get around.
Realtor Michael Katsouros said the anticipation for the REM has helped create a boom in the Deux-Montagnes housing market.
“The average waiting time to sell a house right now is 56 days compared to last year, which was 88 days,” he said.
But now, with train delays and stoppages common, Katsouros said the market appears to be cooling off a little.
“I think we're going to lose a small part of the buyers because all the people that currently buy in Deux-Montagnes and who work in Montreal, they’re sick of the traffic – well they buy here because of the train,” he said.
The consortium behind the REM is looking for solutions, but said it's not as simple as putting in extra bus service.
“If you look at the line… it's a diagonal that comes from Deux-Montagnes to downtown Montreal, so it’s really difficult to have a service that is doing the same kind of route. A diagonal route is really direct access,” said REM spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix.
The consortium says it will announce a new plan before the holidays.