It is as Pierrefonds-Roxboro City Councillor in the Bois-de-Liesse district, in which two stations on the Deux-Montagnes line are located, and also as a passenger of the Deux-Montagnes line that I address this open letter to Premier Philippe Couillard asking that his government pass a special law defining AMT commuter trains as an essential public service which must be preserved.
Along with thousands of our fellow citizens of the West-Island, my family and I depend on commuter train service to get to our places of work (for my husband and myself) and study (for our two sons, both high-school students).
The Deux-Montagnes line has the highest ridership by far of all the commuter train lines, carrying over 31,000 people each day. In comparison, the next busiest line is Vaudreuil-Hudson with 16,300 passengers per day; the new Mascouche line carries 5000 passengers per day.
The majority of these trips are made during rush hour, when the wagons on the Deux-Montagnes line are filled to more than 110% of their capacity; therefore I ask that morning and afternoon rush-hour service be protected as a first priority. Without calling into question the right to strike of the Canadian National employees, I submit that this service plays a crucial role for West-Islanders.
The Roxboro-Pierrefonds and Sunnybrooke stations serve the population bassin residing in the north-west part of the West-Island, primarily the Montreal boroughs of Pierrefonds-Roxboro and l’Île-Bizard-Ste-Geneviève as well as the neighbouring municipalities of Kirkland and Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
Already struggling with inadequate bus service and insufficient parking spaces, AMT passengers continue to tolerate stifling overcrowding on wagons as well as the delays of the past weeks, some of which were due to weather conditions while others were due to the wear and tear of wagons that are too heavily overused to allow for regular and proper maintenance.
A break in commuter train service due to a strike would result in unbearable congestion of already overburdened roadways in the West-Island as well as an important economic loss for businesses whose employees depend on the train for their daily commute.
I ask that Premier Couillard’s government consider these factors and that it avoid a potentially chaotic situation by imposing a special law guaranteeing service on the Deux-Montagnes line as essential.