- May 28, 2020
- Reaction score
I understand it hasn't always been the case, but at the same time it doesn't stop the criticism from being the truth. What plans are there for Exo in terms of system expansion? The Mascouche Line is one of the most expensive Commuter Rail projects in North America, yet can't even get more than a few midday trains to run. Even now, with the closure of the Mont Royal tunnel, not only does Exo no longer have arguably its most important line, but now the Mascouche Line doesn't even reach downtown, requiring people to transfer in the middle of nowhere.It's due to open this fall, save for one important intersection (where they're building the tunnel to link with the blue line extension). They've started work on a 1.5km extension south to Notre-Dame (where it will connect with REM B). The problem with the Pie-IX BRT project is that it was integrated with a much larger infrastructure project... They rebuilt the entire street, and that's what went overbudget and much much behind schedule. The mass transit portion of the work went smoothly actually. Stay tuned for similar BRT projects coming soon, on Parc and Henri-Bourassa.
As for Exo... There's a bit of unfair criticism here... pre-pandemic every line saw ridership increasing (with the obvious exception of the Deux-Montagnes line). They've improved greatly in the last decade, both in terms of frequencies and with the infrastructure. It's not GO though, that's for sure.
The real problem with Exo and the ARTM, and this is what the Gazette article is referencing, is that the government basically abandoned them in favour of the Caisse. ARTM was created in 2017 because there were issues with fare integration in the CMM (the Greater Montreal Area) and because there was a concerted wish for taking capital project planning out of the hands of politicians. The ARTM has been working on a 50 year plan (kinda like Translink) to drive planning in the region. When the PLQ government created the ARTM, they had them work with the Caisse, involving all parties in the discussions and they were trying to create a model where regional needs for transportation could be met with the involvement of private parties like the Caisse. In 2018 when the Legault government came to power, they stopped this collaboration. They stopped inviting ARTM to meetings and they didn't even tell them ahead of time when they announced REM B. The government even decided to take projects already being studied and announced (the LEEO project on the south shore), scrap them and ask the Caisse to study them instead...
I don't know much about Toronto, and I frankly don't think it's really worth comparing because everything is just so different, but I hope I could bring a bit more context and information regarding the situation in Montreal!
As for the two cities, they're honestly not that different. In fact we're sort of at a crossroads where the choices made today determine what the differences will start being in the near future.