When you want news to get buried over the weekend, you deliver it on Friday afternoons.
The Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) will be abolished as of Monday. The provincial government agency is currently responsible for all transit planning in Greater Montreal, as well as the the inter-city commuter rail network.
The Couillard government will make the announcement on Monday (okay, so maybe they’re not really trying to bury the story, still, odd time to issue a press release teasing such a major change…)
Apparently the AMT is to be replaced by two new organizations: the Réseau des transports métropolitain (RTM) and the Agence régionale de transport (ART).
The new RTM will be responsible for running the commuter rail system and apparently all public transit agencies except the STM, STL and RTL (the latter two STM equivalents in Laval and Longueuil respectively).
Of note, the other organization (ART) will be the regional transit planning body, and will be run by the ‘elected officials of Montreal and government experts’.
It’s not clear whether that means city proper or agglomeration council, though I believe it’s the latter case.
It’ll be interesting to find out what precisely this all means on Monday, though perhaps we have reason to be optimistic. Local transit needs to be planned locally, though the maintenance of three independent transit agencies (in the form of the STM, STL and RTL) within this new plan is still problematic. The cost to ride the Métro should be standard regardless of where you get on. Similarly, the bus network should have a single common fare at least for Montreal, Laval and Longueuil.
That said, I wonder whether the new regional transit planning authority will continue to push the Blue Line’s eastern extension, or whether it will prioritize developing a tram system.
A lot more to come on this file I imagine. Stay tuned!