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Montreal’s new REM hit with delays, passengers forced to get off

The Réseau express métropolitain, Montreal’s newest mass-transit system, has had to halt service in both directions during its first rush-hour commute on Monday, forcing passengers to get off the trains and triggering the service’s emergency backup plan.

Shortly after 9 a.m., the REM put out a notice on social media that service was going to resume gradually. 

The southern branch of the REM, which links downtown Montreal to Brossard on the South Shore was inaugurated on Friday.

Just before 8 a.m., the driverless trains stopped running, and according to a message relayed to commuters, the delay was due to a “technical problem.” 

Several trains at a standstill could be seen on the tracks near the Champlain Bridge.

Three REM trains froze on the tracks near the Champlain Bridge on Monday, July 31, 2023. It was the system’s first full test. (Radio-Canada/Ivanoh Demers)

At the time, riders were told the delay would last approximately 20 minutes.

Service began gradually resuming after 15 minutes, but it appears the kinks were still not ironed out and passengers exited the trains.

Shuttle buses were deployed to take riders from the Panama station on the South Shore to the Gare Centrale station downtown.

people are standing outside.
Commuters on Montreal’s South Shore were forced to line up for shuttle buses. (Fanny Samson/Radio-Canada)

Lacroix says the trains will continue to run between Brossard, the branch’s southern terminus, and the Panama station, which is also on the South Shore.

“That’s to bring people to the Panama station, where the contingency plan [with shuttle bus service] begins,” he told Radio-Canada.

Tens of thousands of Montrealers tested out the new trains during the weekend, as the rides were free.

WATCH | Want to try the REM? Here’s how: 

A beginner’s guide to riding Montreal’s REM

The hype is real. It’s finally here. Watch this before hopping on board.

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