Imagine a monthly transit pass that would allow you to take a bus from Saint-Bruno to Longueuil, from there the REM to downtown Montreal, then a Metro across the city and, why not, a commuter train out to Mascouche.
That could be possible in the next few years. The transit authority that oversees the greater Montreal area wants to streamline and integrate fare systems in order to make it easier for commuters to take buses, trains and Metros.
There are currently 91 different transit districts in and around Montreal, across which there are more than 700 different transit fares, depending on location, mode of transportation and age group.
Those fares are currently divided by eight zones, which are managed by several separate regional transit agencies.
Well the umbrella organization responsible for these transit agencies — the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) — is proposing to simplify this Byzantine pricing system.
Under the new plan, there would be only four transit zones and four types of transit passes in the Montreal area.
Each zone would have a monthly all-purpose pass giving commuters access to buses, Metros, trains, adapted transit and the upcoming REM.
"Today's proposal is about offering the population a simple way to travel," said Daniel Bergeron, executive director of the ARTM.
Bergeron said the new plan will make life easier for commuters on Montreal's north and south shores, where there are 11 separate transit agencies. Passengers would be able to use one all-purpose pass as they travel through different zones.
How the new pricing system will work
Between Sept. 8 and Oct. 23, the ARTM is seeking the public's input on the new pricing plan. This is how the plan would work:
- Zone 1 will cover the island of Montreal. A monthly pass will cost $90.
- Zone 2 will cover Laval and Longueuil. A monthly pass giving access to Zones 1 and 2 will cost $144.
- Zone 3 will cover the ring of so-called 450 communities just past Laval and Longueuil. A monthly pass for Zones 1, 2 and 3 will cost $176.
- Zone 4 will cover municipalities outside the ARTM area. A monthly pass for Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4 will cost $245.
Bergeron said commuters in Zone 3 would be the first to see the new fares, possibly as early as July 2021. But, he added, the whole pricing system will not be in place until the end of 2024.