Unlike many other transportation projects that were built in Montreal, the REM stations have been designed to meet the needs of people with reduced mobility right from the start. Not only will the stations be able to accommodate those in wheel chairs and walkers, but also people who are visually impaired – as well as parents travelling with strollers or passengers with luggage. For the REM, universal access means ‘stations and cars that are designed to include all individuals, including people with functional limitations, in an environment designed to simplify travel’. Included the needs of those with reduced mobility in the system’s design will be much welcomed and offer many the ability to travel autonomously.
REM stations equipped with elevators and escalators
All of the REM‘s stations will be equipped with elevators, and all (except the Édouard-Montpetit station) will have escalators. The elevators will include many features to meet the needs of the system’s users. They will be glass-enclosed with ‘Pass Through’ doors so as to avoid the need for people in wheelchairs or with strollers to turn around to exit the elevator. They will be located near stairways and recognizable from a distance. The elevators will also be equipped with a device to announce information to customers both vocally and visually and will have buttons marked with large characters, in French grade 1 braille, universal pictographs and terms that are simple, meaningful and understandable in many languages.
REM train cars
TRAIN CARS: From boarding to getting off, the experience on board REM cars is expected to be fluid for all passengers. The cars will be equipped with resting places, multi-bar columns and access to vertical columns in clear spaces. There will be reserved seats for people with reduced mobility, clearly indicated using pictographs. Each car will have one reserved spot per car for people in wheelchairs, with enough space to get to the spot from inside the car, as well as areas reserved for strollers that do not impede traffic flow within the car.
STATIONS: The stations will be entirely designed, inside and outside, to meet ‘universal access principals’. Any protruding obstacles in public spaces, stations and bus terminals will be equipped with a device to make them detectable by a white cane. Pedestrian walkways will be free of obstacles and sudden changes in level, allowing individuals with visual impairments to walk alongside the walls with a cane. Lighting will be well positioned, sufficient and not too bright, taking into consideration the sun to avoid sudden changes in brightness. And the floors of stations and bus terminal platforms with waiting areas will have a change of texture where the train doors are located.
Right now 26 stations are being built and there is a possibility of another one at the Dorval Circle, where Via Rail and EXO commuter lines have stations. Both the Dorval and Ville Saint-Laurent city councils formally requested the addition – and on July 19th, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that $2 million will be made available towards a feasibility study for the connection. It remains to be seen whether or not the station will be added to the network.