MONTREAL -- Construction for Montreal’s new light-rail system is on schedule, and it could be a good thing that public transit ridership is way down.

Mitigation measures will be in place for those whose commute is affected by the work, but fewer people should be in that boat.

The Réseau express métropolitain, or REM, says it has a dedicated budget for those stopgaps—$192 million in total—and it’s necessary to go ahead with them since some commuters who are still relying on the train to Montreal will be left with no options at some point.

There have been a few changes, however, to what was announced last fall. These were decided after public consultations but before COVID-19 hit.

Starting Nov. 2, there will be new bus routes from Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache and Laval into downtown Montreal.

Also starting on Nov. 2, about a dozen bus stops will be removed, turning the routes “express.”

The fact that overall ridership is down in the Montreal area means that all public transit officials are making adjustments on the fly.

“Services are going to be maintained with lesser number of vehicles,” said Jean-Vincent Lacroix of the REM.

“We still have to [be] maintaining a minimum service,” he said, “and then adjust the number of buses” needed according to demand in various places.

The new measures are still subject to change, and a dedicated unit will continue to look at whether various routes should be altered or suspended.