Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel: shuttles far from full

Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel: shuttles far from being full


It took until three of the six lanes of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel were closed for motorists to finally turn to the shuttles put in place to ease the hell of the works.< /strong>

“I had no choice, otherwise it would take me too long,” says Caroline Sow in front of the 462 shuttle stop to go home to Sainte-Julie.

The chemist waited for the start of the major Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel project last November to leave her car at the Touraine incentive parking lot in Beloeil and take the bus to the Radisson metro.

< p>She is far from the only one. The Ministère des Transports had however added four new bus lines between Montreal and the South Shore as of December 2021, in view of the work.

But it took between nearly a year and when they were free – in mid-October – for them to start filling up. And they are still far from being full.

Slow progress

During rush hour last week, Le Journal found that there were still seats left, both in the shuttles of the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) and in those of exo.

“I've never seen a full bus,” says Manon Cordeau, who takes the exo-520 shuttle almost every day from Beloeil to get to the Radisson metro.

In January 2022, less 4,000 people used lines 61 and 461 of the RTL during rush hour from Monday to Friday, according to data from the Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable du Québec (MTDQ) obtained by Le Journal

Several motorists have waited the hell of the works to choose this option. In November, ridership peaked at over 20,000, dropping to around 16,000 in January.

Not yet filled

As for lines 520 and 532 of exo, they reached a ridership of only 15% in the spring of 2022 and 30% in September, according to an email from the spokesperson, Eric Edström.

Edström, however, was unable to provide data on the use of shuttles 520 and 532 since October 17, when they became free.

“No matter the day, there are plenty of seats available on the vast majority of trips made on our coach buses with a capacity of at least 52 passengers. The maximum has not yet been reached, so no one is traveling standing still,” he specified in a subsequent email.

They left the car for the shuttle

Manon Cordeau has taken the 520 shuttle every day since the start of the works.

Manon Cordeau spent some time in traffic on her way from Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, near Beloeil, to the east end of Montreal.

“I've been working in Montreal for 35 years and I saw the traffic. I didn't want to go through that ordeal,” testifies the snow removal contractor who has “relaxed” in the shuttles since the beginning of the tunnel work.

Caroline Sow started taking the shuttles at the start of the construction site.

Before the start of the major Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel project in November, Caroline Sowspent at least 40 minutes in traffic on the way home from work from Anjou, in Montreal's east end. 

​“Time in traffic has doubled” , says the one who spends more than two hours a day in public transit, which is comparable to the time she would spend in traffic with the work.

Karina Demers has left her car in the park-and-ride since the beginning of the works.

For Karina Demers, free transportation is less of an incentive than the increase in the frequency of shuttles.

Since she left her car at the incentive parking lot in Mortagne, the Longueuil resident spends no less time on the bus than she spent in her car. 

“It takes me the same time as driving, but it's zero stress , I'm going to be driven,” she says.

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