Montreal commuter train customers 'being held hostage' by CP Rail strike

Written By Unknown on Senin, 16 Februari 2015 | 22.39

About 19,000 commuters in the Montreal area are scrambling to find a way to get to work or school this morning.

As part of the CP Rail strike that began Sunday, there is no AMT commuter-train service Monday morning on the Vaudreuil-Hudson, St-Jérôme and Candiac lines.

The Agence métropolitaine de transport (the commuter train transit authority known as the AMT)  has a contract with CP Rail for those three commuters lines. Canadian National engineers drive the trains running on the other AMT lines.

To help ease the burden on commuters, the AMT said it would run 60 buses along those lines to help ensure commuters get to work on Monday.

Details of the alternative transit plan can be found on the AMT's website.

AMT train

AMT commuter train service is cancelled on three Montreal lines due to the CP Rail employee strike. The transit authority plans to replace the Vaudreuil-Hudson, St-Jérôme and Candiac lines with buses, but said it would need 700 buses to provide the same level of service. (CBC)

But the transit authority said it would take 700 buses to provide the same level of service the commuter trains fulfil.

"Some people will need to take their car this morning or go with other workers in their car," AMT president Nicolas Girard told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"I think the situation right now is unfair, is unacceptable and I think our customers are being held hostage."

One woman told CBC she left an hour earlier than usual to get to work on time by bus.  

The AMT was denied an injunction on Friday to keep its commuter trains running. Girard said the AMT would try for another injunction again Monday.

The federal government is expected to introduce legislation Monday to end the CP Rail strike.

A notice to allow for introduction of the bill was placed on the Commons order paper late Friday afternoon.

The strike began after contract talks failed to reach an agreement before a midnight Saturday night deadline.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union represents 3,300 locomotive engineers and other train workers at the railway.

In a statement issued Sunday morning, the company said it would deploy management personnel to operate a reduced freight service on its Canadian network.

Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poëti said legislation forcing the employees back to work should be introduced "as soon as possible."

Poëti said employees working on commuter trains shouldn't be allowed to strike. 

"Why can we not consider that service an essential service? And it is," he told Daybreak

"We don't use these trains for fun."

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