AMT gives back … with coupons

The AMT today announced that they are going to be compensating users who have been inconvenienced by all the delays caused by train breakdowns and other issues over the past month.

Well, kind of, anyway.

What they’re actually doing is discounting the price of March, April and May TRAM passes for people who take the Deux Montagnes and Dorion/Rigaud lines. (The discounts are steep too, 50% for March, and 25% for the other months – though those are just for Deux Montagnes users.)

And how are they going to determine who uses these lines? Well, the brilliant strategists at the AMT have come up with this:

Un coupon de compensation sera distribué le mercredi 18 février en pointe du matin à l’embarquement dans toutes les gares des lignes Montréal/Deux-Montagnes et Montréal/Dorion-Rigaud.

In other words, they’re handing out coupons to people taking the train the morning of the 18th, and anyone who has the coupon can get the discount (but only if they get their passes at Central Station, Lucien L’Allier station or Vendôme station). There is no way to get the coupon other than using the train during morning rush hour on Feb. 18 (and then you have to repeat the process on March 18 and April 16 for the April and May passes).

UPDATE: The AMT has added Feb. 19 and 20 after complaints from transit users.

I can’t begin to describe how stupid this is. But I’ll take my best shot:

  • Not everyone who was inconvenienced is going to take the train on these days, and are going to get really pissed off that they can’t get a coupon any other way
  • Not everyone taking the train on these mornings will have been inconvenienced by the train breakdowns. And considering that a 50% reduction of the cost of a pass is a huge savings for people living far away (up to $100), some will probably go out of their way to take the morning train that day, making that particular morning commute even more unbearable.
  • This system offers no compensation for those who use tickets instead of a pass, or who don’t plan on using the train in March, April or May.
  • Most importantly, the people who were inconvenienced by the train breakdowns don’t care as much about compensation as they do fixing the problem and getting to work on time. This doesn’t do anything to fix that.

AMT’s train solution: Take the bus

Among the other things contained in the announcement, the AMT is reducing the capacity of trains on the Deux Montagnes line during rush hour, going from 10 cars to eight, so that repairs can be made. Since these cars are already overfilled, they’re setting up special buses to shuttle people between train stations and metro stations near the Deux Montagnes line. The STL is also increasing service to bus #26, which goes between the Ste. Dorothée station and Montmorency metro.

Back from the future

Another measure being taken is reversing schedule changes that were made earlier in the year on the Deux Montagnes line. The morning rush hour schedule, which involved more trains departing from Deux Montagnes, will be reverted to the 2008 schedule starting Feb. 16, since the rolling stock will be unable to handle the increased number of passengers and the increased hours of service.

No information available

Finally, the AMT put on its website a page which gives real-time information about train service.

9 thoughts on “AMT gives back … with coupons

  1. Alex T.

    I never thought the AMT would revert to the old schedule. I’m glad they changed the 00:15 back to 00:30 (although I’ve only taken that departure a few times, I know how important it is to the ones who do take it).

    A few questions remain unanswered:

    So what’s going to happen to the midday and post AM rush hour trains?
    Will they continue to run two sets leaving every hour on the :25 and :30 or will they revert to the :56 and :30 schedule which required 3 trainsets?
    Will they still try to have 30-minute service until 10:25?
    Will #918 (07:55 outbound) be removed from the schedule? The old schedule had a deadhead #923 which left Central at 08:13 and arrived at DM at 08:43

    I’m curious to see the “une navette temporaire de l’AMT” that they’re going to run between Cote-Vertu and Roxboro / Sunnybrooke / Du Ruisseau. They didn’t mention STM buses so hopefully we won’t have another AMT bus fiasco (ahem)

  2. newironshapes

    The coupon idea might have an upside (for the AMT) — if extra riders come that morning to take the coupon, they’ll have to buy a pass later to get anything out of it. Maybe because of the coupons, some riders who wouldn’t have ordinarily bought a pass will buy one. Then having bought one, they’ll feel obliged to use the train. More users and higher ridership numbers for the trains, might lead to a bigger budget next year…

  3. Marc

    Did you see Joel Gauthier at the press conference on the news tonight? He was wiping sweat off his forehead. Almost like he can’t handle it any longer.

  4. Tim

    Here’s hoping the bus service goes well and doesn’t cause another fiasco.

    I wish the AMT would follow GO Transit’s direction and run buses when it can’t run trains (when ridership is too low, off-peak hours, and when it can’t negotiate time for trains from CN/CP).

  5. Homer

    Didn’t they try that in vaudreuil, but it got canned because the busses were Air Conditionned and would amount to two tiered bus service?

  6. Pingback: Fagstein » How to save $25 off your next transit pass

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