The option of a 13 billion tramway is confirmed in the east of Montreal, as revealed The Press, in order to replace the 36 billion underground light rail proposed last summer. The project will be three times cheaper, but above all “faster to deliver,” says the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM), which is already considering extensions to Lanaudière and Rivière-des-Prairies.
“We will propose a new project three times cheaper, as efficient and faster to deliver while allowing an improvement in urban development. It is a project based on the needs of the current and future population,” argued the director general of the ARTM, Benoit Gendron, on Friday.
In a preliminary report on the Eastern Structuring Project (PSE), that The Press obtained, his team notes that “the ridership and maximum hourly load data militate in favor of a surface rail mode”. “The capacity of a mode on tires, such as an SRB (Rapid Bus Service), just as competitive in terms of commercial speed, could not adequately meet travel needs, given the expected number of passengers to be moved in periods cutting edge,” it is written.
It is added that passenger comfort “would suffer in a mode on capacity tires”, such as an SRB, while “in return, the mode on rail offers more space and its capacity can be increased by the addition of cars if necessary.
Extensions under study
As we reported at the beginning of January, the choice of the tramway will reduce the total cost estimated at around 13 billion. The proposed tramway would have 31 kilometers of rails and 28 stations, spaced 1.1 kilometers apart on average.
The commercial speed of the future tramway would be between 27 and 31 km/h, a rate higher than what was planned for the Quebec tramway, which went back to the drawing board. For comparison, an SRB would only have traveled at around 22 km/h. Other modes, such as a tram-train or a light rail system (LRT), are also analyzed, but do not seem favored.
The route would remain similar to the initial scenario, along the axis of Lacordaire Boulevard and Sherbrooke Street East, between Cégep Marie-Victorin and Pointe-aux-Trembles station, along the green metro line. Extensions are also envisaged towards Rivière-des-Prairies and Repentigny, in the MRC de l’Assomption. Without these two extensions, the project would be 21 kilometers long, would have 22 stations and would cost 10 billion.
In short, the connection of the tramway with the Montreal metro would be on two lines: first, with the future Lacordaire station, included in the extension of this line whose work must end in 2030, then with the Cadillac and Honoré stations -Beaugrand, on the green line.
In the office of the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, we remain cautious. “We will wait to receive the report and analyze it before commenting on it. However, we reiterate our commitment to the east of Montreal: we want a structuring transport network possible to ensure its development,” argued the director of communications, Maxime Roy.
In September, Prime Minister François Legault committed, in front of an audience of business people from the region, to bringing the REM de l’Est to Lanaudière, maintaining that the connection to the north would be a “condition non-negotiable “.
26,300 peak users
The ridership of this tramway would be “around 26,300 users during the morning peak period” within 12 years, in 2036, the equivalent of 850 passengers per kilometer. The margin of error gives ridership oscillating between 23,300 and 27,300 trips, for a total of approximately 86,000 trips per day.
The maximum hourly load, i.e. the number of peak passengers at the busiest station, would be 3,650 passengers per hour on the north branch and 4,200 passengers per hour on the east branch. The modal shift from motorists to public transport would be around 17%.
In terms of travel time, it would take around 16 minutes to cover the distance between Pointe-aux-Trembles and Honoré-Beaugrand with the tramway. This is a saving of 10 minutes compared to the current situation. On the north branch, we would go from 42 to 20 minutes between Cadillac station and Marie-Victorin CEGEP.
Furthermore, the addition of a rapid bus connection using reserved lanes on the motorway network “would have a potential effect of increasing ridership of around 14% on the project studied”, according to the ARTM.