Public transit pricing is changing across the Montreal region. Here's how it will work

·3 min read
New public tranist fares will benefit seniors, students and children who are 11 and younger.  (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)
New public tranist fares will benefit seniors, students and children who are 11 and younger. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A new streamlined public transit fare system for the entire Montreal region is being put in place, and kids as well as adult-age students stand to benefit. Seniors who live within city limits are also getting a much better deal.

The umbrella organization responsible for the region's transit agencies — the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) — approved the new fare system last December and further explained the new pricing on Thursday.

The current system is a bit complicated.

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 different regional transit agencies.

The ARTM has been working to simplify pricing across the board — narrowing it all down to three different zones that will be dubbed A, B and C.

Overall, prices aren't dropping. Fees will actually increase by an average of two per cent, something the ARTM attributes to inflation.

Regardless, there will be some perks.

Starting July 1, children aged 11 and under are getting free rides throughout the public transit network, no matter if they're riding a bus in Mirabel or Verchères.

But there's a catch. They have to be with somebody at least 14 years of age. Right now, free services are only offered to children six and under in most sectors.

As for Montrealers aged 65 and up, they're getting 70 per cent off as long as they live within city limits. Montreal is subsidizing seniors' fares, ensuring they pay $27 per month, down from $53.

"When we expressed our wish to give seniors access to the public transport network at a lower cost, we had in mind to support them in the resumption of post-pandemic life," said Mayor Valérie Plante in a statement Thursday.

"I have always believed in the impact of more equitable pricing measures for public transit, and today this is a first step in the right direction."

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says reduced fares for seniors will give them a boost during and after the pandemic.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says reduced fares for seniors will give them a boost during and after the pandemic. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)


Her administration announced the subsidized fares back in November, when it unveiled the city budget. The new discount was welcomed seniors' advocates.

Richard Chrétien, head of the transport committee for the Quebec advocacy group for retiree rights (AQDDR), said the lower rates fits with the goal of keeping seniors active.

"It's a way to keep seniors more independent, because they don't need to call a cousin or aunt or uncle to get around," Chrétien said.

The ARTM is also giving full-time students, aged 18 to 64, a 40 per cent discount on monthly passes.

South Shore commuters who rely on the Champlain Bridge bus route are among those who will have to pay a little more, forking over an extra $10 per year. That price will give them access to the light-rail network when it's available.

With these changes, Montreal will be Zone A while Longueuil and Laval will be Zone B, and passengers can buy tickets based on the zones they are travelling within or to.

For example, those with a Zone B ticket can use the bus, metro, commuter train and, soon, the REM within Zone B.

And as for those who have an "ABC" ticket, they will be able to travel in any zone using any of the transit options available.

The overhaul of the public transit fare system is being done gradually, and is expected to be completed by 2025.

The ARTM outlines the new changes on its website, in French only.