Posted in Montreal, Public transit

Are the STM’s fare hikes unreasonable?

Last week, the STM released details of its 2013 budget, and naturally everyone focused on fare hikes (see PDF chart). The numbers showed that most fares would go up by a buck or two, just like they have every year for the past decade. And Montreal’s opposition parties came out with their usual predictable denunciations of the hikes, as did regular transit users who complained as they always do that service isn’t being improved enough to justify the hikes.

As you can see from the chart below, fares have definitely gone up over the past five years, and while small fares (single trips, tourist passes) have been in line with the consumer price index or even below it, the bigger and more popular fares, like the monthly adult pass, have gone up by twice as much as other consumer goods and services.

But at the same time, it would be wrong to say that there haven’t been significant service improvements in that time. Since 2010 alone, there’s been the 10 minutes max network, new seniors’ shuttles, a major overhaul of the night bus network, new express buses to the West Island, and a reduction in wait times for the metro just before and just after rush hours.

Tens of thousands of hours a year of bus service have been added, buses themselves are being replaced to the point where the number of buses from before 2000 is now negligible. New metro trains are being designed and built. And various technologies are being put into place to ensure that people are given information that allows them to get to their destination the fastest way possible.

The STM calculates that, overall, its level of service has gone up by 25% since 2007. That outpaces the increase in the price of a monthly adult pass for the same period.

These improvements aren’t cheap. In general, increases in amount of service outpace increases in additional ridership (and, I assume, fare revenue) by a factor of two to one. This is unsurprising, and in fact it’s the goal set by the government, a goal the STM has surpassed in its review of PASTEC. But it means that we need to pay more.

And most people are actually okay with that. They don’t mind paying more if it means getting better service. Montreal’s transit system is still among the cheapest in North America, certainly when you look at the amount of service it delivers.

Whether the STM is delivering enough added service to justify the price increases is something I’ll leave to you to decide.

Fare progression chart

Here’s a chart showing the STM’s fares over the past five years, and you can compare to the consumer price index for those years at the bottom:

(UPDATE: The STM has cut its fare hikes. An updated chart is here.)

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Change 2008-2013
Monthly CAM (regular) $66.25 (+1.9%) $68.50 (+3.4%) $70 (+2.2%) $72.75 (+3.9%) $75.50 (+3.8%) $77.75 (+3.0%) +17.4%
Monthly CAM (reduced) $36 (+2.9%) $37 (+2.8%) $38.75 (+4.7%) $41 (+5.8%) $43.75 (+6.7%) $45.50 (+1.0%) +26.4%
Four-month CAM (reduced fare only) N/A N/A $148 ($37/month) $155 ($38.75/month) (+4.7%) $164 ($41/month) (+5.8%) $175 ($43.75/month)(+6.7%) +18.2% (2010-13)
Weekly CAM (regular) $19.25 (+1.3%) $20 (+3.9%) $20.50 (+2.5%) $22 (+2.5%) $23.50 (+6.8%) $24.25 (+3.2%) +26.0%
Weekly CAM (reduced) $11 (+2.3%) $11.25 (+2.3%) $11.50 (+2.2%) $12.75 (+10.9%) $13.75 (+7.8%) $14.50 (+5.5%) +31.8%
Three-day tourist pass $17 (unchanged) $17 (unchanged) $14
(-17.6%)
$16 (+14.3%) $16 (unchanged) $18 (+12.5%) +5.9%
One-day tourist pass
(Also used as 747 fare)
$9 (unchanged) $9 (unchanged) $7 (-22.2%) $8 (+14.3%) $8 (unchanged) $9 (+12.5%) None
Evening pass (after 6pm) N/A N/A N/A $4 $4 (unchanged) $4 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
10 trips (Opus card only) (regular) N/A $20 $21 ($2.10/trip) (+5%) $22.50 ($2.25/trip) (+7.1%) $24 ($2.40/trip) (+6.7%) $25 (+4.2%) +25% (2009-13)
10 trips (Opus card only) (reduced) N/A $10.75 ($1.08/trip) $12 ($1.20/trip) (+11.6%) $13 ($1.30/trip) (+8.3%) $14 ($1.40/trip) (+7.7%) $15 (+7.1%) +39.5% (2009-13)
Two trips (regular) N/A N/A N/A $5.50 ($2.75/trip) $5.50 (unchanged) $5.50 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
Two trips (reduced) N/A N/A N/A $3.50 ($1.75/trip) $3.50 (unchanged) $3.50 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
Single fare (regular) $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $3 (+9.1%) $3 (unchanged) $3 (unchanged) +9.1%
Single fare (reduced) $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $2 (+14.3%) $2 (unchanged) $2 (unchanged) +14.3%
Consumer price index for Montreal 2.1% 1.0% 1.4% 2.8% 1.8% (projected) N/A +10.9% (projected)

Other changes

Among other things announced in the budget:

  • An unlimited weekend pass, for $12, offering unlimited trips from 6pm Friday to 5am Monday.
  • The same hours apply to the Family Outings program, so an adult with up to five children under 12 can travel together on an unlimited number of trips for $12 on weekends as of 6pm on Fridays.
  • Expansion of its Occasionelle disposable smart-card to all retailers selling transit passes
  • Removal of the place of residence requirement for student passes. Students 18-25 who live off-island will no longer be excluded from access to reduced-fare Opus cards and the reduced fares that come with it.

In addition, the Agence métropolitaine de transport is setting up a parking lot at Saint-Martin Blvd. and Pie-IX Blvd. (Route 125) in Laval, which will be served by the STM’s 139 bus on Pie-IX. This will be the first time in decades that an STM bus route is being expanded into another transit agency’s territory. Normally it is the external transit agency (the STL or RTL) or the AMT that manages bus service between territories.

No word has been given on whether that bus would be subject to regular STM fares or something similar to the Laval metro stations. The STM informs me that, in fact, the fares for the 139 buses in Laval will be the same as for the Laval metro stations, and those going to and coming from Laval will be marked as 139X.

 

48 thoughts on “Are the STM’s fare hikes unreasonable?

  1. Amanda C

    What bugs me is that there are little to no improvements for those of us who live downtown or close to downtown. There are times of the day when I can’t physically get onto a bus or metro nearby to me. I can’t justifyabating more for a service I can’t use. Long trips outside of rush hour? Perhaps. Short trips at rush hour? I leave a bit earlier and walk or bixi.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      What bugs me is that there are little to no improvements for those of us who live downtown or close to downtown.

      The metro improvements certainly directly impact downtown. As for buses, it depends on your definition of “downtown”. A bus like the 427 is specifically designed to help people get downtown at rush hour.

      Reply
      1. JohnMcClane

        That would be great, but the 427 is a lot slower than the metro, almost the double time to go to downtown. We people of the plateau are forced to sacrifice speed to the people living the suburbs taking the metro. If only they could have a dedicated line on St-Denis, but no…

        Reply
    1. Rob

      Last Sunday I used the Metro line to get to the football game. I bought a ticket and passed it through the gate, but due to the fact that I had set off the sensors with my knapsack, the gate didn’t open. I was not sure as to why the gate didn’t open, and it took three attempts to finally get through. All the while I had people behind me, waiting for their turn. I was pleasantly surprised that I was treated respectfully not only by the ticket taker, but also by another gentlemen in the booth. They both spoke to me in English, and took me aside afterwards to patiently explain why the gate did not open.
      I’ve heard stories of treating anglophones disrespectfully, but my experience was the exact opposite.

      Reply
  2. Jason

    The AMT price hikes have gone up much higher than that. When I moved to my home in west Pierrefonds in 2002, I was paying $ 64.00 for a TRAM pass. I know it for a fact as I still have that same pass right here in front of me.

    10 years later, in 2012, its now $ 117.00
    My house did not move yet I am paying nearly double and in 2013, its going to go up again, probably to $ 120.00 or so.

    Do the math, nearly a 100% increase in 10 years.

    Reply
    1. emdx

      It’s unfortunate that the trains’ success has resulted in them being overloaded, to the point that they can hike the fares up the wazoo, and the people still take them.

      What is annoying is the fare discrimination within the Island; you are charged much higher for a given trip if you take the train than if you take the bus.

      Given the overloading of trains in the rush direction, this could be understandable, but those trains who go against-the-traffic are far from being overloaded. In order to cultivate ridership, they could simply ask for regular bus fare.

      Reply
  3. Sam

    Okay. so the fares on island are actually pretty reasonable even today. I am still waiting for someone to explain to me why I have to pay double the price to go from Chateauguay to downtown Montreal than I used to pay from Pointe-Claire? Chateauguay is actually less distance, even if just slightly.

    The entire transit structure needs to be overhauled in the Montreal metro region. Just exactly what does the ATM do? Why does it exist?

    And before you bitch that I don’t live on the island and shouldn’t complain. I pay the exact same income, property, transit, SAAQ taxes and levies that on islanders do. I just pay twice the cost of a trip into town than you do. I pay for the Metro just like you and it doesn’t pass my house like it does yours. CITSO doesn’t have any new buses like you do. I go to work on a used first generation NOVA bus. You know the ones with the bad brakes and the windows that leak and the horrible suspension?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I am still waiting for someone to explain to me why I have to pay double the price to go from Chateauguay to downtown Montreal than I used to pay from Pointe-Claire?

      Put simply: bureaucracy. It’s because you’re crossing two transit networks, and because the AMT’s fare policy is based on distance from downtown, while the STM’s is (at least for now) based on a flat fare for its entire territory.

      A bigger problem than the high price of TRAM passes is the lack of interconnection in terms of fares. If you have a Laval transit pass and a Montreal transit pass (or equivalent tickets), you still can’t get into a Laval metro station. If you want to travel from Châteauguay to Laval and don’t have an AMT monthly pass, you have to buy three separate tickets for three transit systems.

      Reply
    2. emdx

      It’s very simple: Châteauguay is not willing to pay extra to have cheaper service.

      If you want to save money, you have to pay for it…

      Reply
  4. Marc

    Tens of thousands of hours a year of bus service have been added, buses themselves are being replaced to the point where the number of buses from before 2000 is now negligible.

    Still no A/C’ed buses, huh? Oh right, how foolish of me, A/C isn’t “green.” I’ll just continue to use my A/C’ed car during hot weather.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Still no A/C’ed buses, huh?

      There are some currently undergoing testing in a pilot project. I was on one last week. The big issue is price: is it worth it to incorporate an expensive, heavy and energy-wasting air-conditioning unit on a city bus when it’s only needed for a few weeks a year?

      The STM has in the past completely dismissed the idea of having air conditioning on buses, but its position has softened lately because of user demand, hence the pilot project.

      Reply
      1. Marc

        There are some currently undergoing testing in a pilot project

        It’s been going on for two years now. How much longer do they need. They have A/C everywhere else in North America.

        The big issue is price: is it worth it to incorporate an expensive, heavy and energy-wasting air-conditioning unit on a city bus

        Yes. Because then folks like me who have trouble breathing in hot, sticky conditions will leave the car at home and use the bus, meaning less cars on the roads. Also, the drivers’ union has been asking for it for ages.

        it’s only needed for a few weeks a year?

        Try a couple months a year.

        The STM has in the past completely dismissed the idea of having air conditioning on buses, but its position has softened lately because of user demand

        They may have softened it, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s lots of ideological oppoosition at STM bureaucratic level.

        Reply
      2. Faiz Imam

        I know that the new generation of buses coming in are modular in such a way that A/C’s can be installed somewhat easily.

        I doubt its the case, but it would be great if it was easy enough that they could be installed every spring and removed in the fall.

        If not I would rather not have them and have buses that the significantly cleaner as well as cheaper to run.

        The GPS functionality combined with an open data api is the thing i’m most looking forward to.

        It means no more waiting out in the cold for a bus that may or may not come. Just check the app for the bus location, see how long till the bus comes and get a coffee while you wait and look at a map of the exact location of the bus.

        Reply
      3. Alex H

        The “few weeks a year” argument is pretty much crap all the way down the line. They would start using it as soon as the weather gets over about 18, and use it until it stops – so May through September. AC turned off on a bus doesn’t use any more power than not having it (except for the marginal penalty for hauling a physical equipment around). If anything, it could be argued that all the wear and tear on the buses from having the windows open and closed, and the rain getting in, and all the time spent fixing other stuff is pretty expensive too.

        By your logic, the city should get rid of all those outdoor swimming pools they only use a few weeks a year, and all the kids parks… and don’t get me started on the “place du festival” thing that they only use a few weeks a year!

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          The “few weeks a year” argument is pretty much crap all the way down the line. They would start using it as soon as the weather gets over about 18, and use it until it stops – so May through September.

          The “few weeks a year” argument is based on the number of days in an average year where simply opening a window does not provide sufficient cooling. If we look at Environment Canada data for the number of days in an average year where, say, the humidex is above 30C (which is far greater than the number of days where the temperature is above 30C), then we get 44.7 days, or about six weeks. For a humidex above 35, which I would qualify as the lower end of really uncomfortable heat, it’s 13.5 days, or two weeks. For the number of days with a temperature above 30C (where opening a window really becomes useless), it’s only 7.6 days a year.

          By your logic, the city should get rid of all those outdoor swimming pools they only use a few weeks a year, and all the kids parks… and don’t get me started on the “place du festival” thing that they only use a few weeks a year!

          Outdoor swimming pools should be open longer, but as it is they’re used all summer. Kids parks are used far longer than that, and the Place des Festivals is used all year long, even in the dead of winter.

          Reply
          1. Alex H

            Himidex is a bit misleading. It can be as low as 16 or 17 degrees, and with the sun the inside of a bus could be 25-30 degrees without ventilation. A AC system runs very effeciently when it pulls outside air and only has to cool it slightly. But without it, the buses are warm.

            Yes, opening the windows will cool the bus, but it makes it windy when it’s moving, and warm when it isn’t moving. It’s nowhere as comfortable as an AC system.

            As for the pools, it’s the point that for much more than half the year, they are useless – too cold, frozen, covered in snow… why bother?

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              Yes, opening the windows will cool the bus, but it makes it windy when it’s moving, and warm when it isn’t moving. It’s nowhere as comfortable as an AC system.

              The question is whether it would be bearable. And except for a couple of weeks in late July, I think it would.

              Reply
              1. Alex H

                Bearable is not the issue. Bearable is the issue for people who are FORCED to take the bus or don’t have a better alternative. Bearable isn’t how you sell a product, bearable is the bottle level of service required to keep the people forced to use the service from forming a CLASSE style group to force the leaders of the transit companies to resign.

                AC is a simple deal, really. You make the product not just bearable, but you make it more than tolerable, you make it (eek!) inviting. You make it a valid choice for 6 to 7 months a year, when sitting in a public bus in your business suit or your decent work clothes leaves you as a sweaty mess. The idea is to make it so that everyone, from top to bottom, feels that public transit is in fact a valid alternative for their cars.

                Without that, they fail, they fail completely, and they will spend their time marketing to people who basically don’t have a choice.

                If the outside temp is 18C, and there is sun, the inside temp on a bus sitting in traffic full of people is well over “room temp”. You cannot make that an inviting option to people who are balancing between taking a car or taking public transit, or for that matter someone looking to take a job downtown (where they might have to take public transit) or the same job in the burbs, Laval, or what have you.

                That the price of transit jacks itself way up (doubles? Triples?) because people live over an imaginary line created by a natural feature (water) is a pretty poor selling technique too. It’s hard to imagine anything dumber than offering expensive and poorer quality service to people who are most likely to be on the road clogging up your streets.

              2. Isaac

                It’s bearable, but it makes a huge difference on a crowded bus packed to the limit. Last year Ottawa reduced its transit service, resulting in extremely crowded buses that can be taxing enough to stand on; when riding a bus without air conditioning, it becomes just that much worse.

              3. emdx

                As I see it, the choice is having buses very comfortable for 6 weeks during the year, and having less service throughout the year.

                It’s absolutely a no-brainer…

    2. Omi-san

      I don’t care about A/C in buses. It’s the Metro that’s extremely hot and uncomfortable nearly all year long (Not just during heat waves as people who never take the Metro seem to think). There’s gotta be a way to make the trains and stations cooler and that should be the #1 priority at the STM.

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        There’s gotta be a way to make the trains and stations cooler and that should be the #1 priority at the STM.

        There are ways, but most of them are expensive. Air conditioning the trains just pushes heat into the tunnels and stations, requiring even more air conditioning for the stations, which is very expensive.

        The STM is instead focusing on other means of reducing the heat. It’s upgrading the ventilation throughout the metro system to push heat out. As well, the new trains being purchased will be more efficient, giving off less heat. Since heat generated from the trains is the main source of heat through the system (so much so that most of the metro doesn’t need to be heated during the winter), that will make a big difference.

        Reply
  5. Kevin

    Unfortunately this price increase comes with an increased amount of asshattery, including at the metro station closest to my home.

    I have found agents, especially at McGill and Lionel Groulx, to be extraordinarily helpful, but those on the orange line are getting frightening.

    Reply
  6. ATSC

    I usually use my Car. But the past few months, I restarted to take public transit because parking is a problem in certain parts of the city.

    As a casual user of the system, I found that the pricing structure not very helpful. I ended up just purchasing tickets 10 at a time. This was the best option in my case. Though, I would think that I would get a better discount if I’m buying ten at a time instead of just two.

    I also found that metro is a little messed up. Plenty of delays, or announcements of delays on the green line. More than I care for. Not okay during rush hour. Also, stations like McGill have a lot of people. Afternoon rush hour at that station is nuts. So many people trying to get onto the metro.

    I’ve cut down the number of times I use the system once again, and gone back to the car. Even with all the traffic, the car still gets me from point A to B faster. The problem is the damn parking. $6 per hour on a parking meter is insane. Plenty of metered parking spots are just empty. People refuse to use them. Not at that rate.

    What I don’t understand about the STM is, if you have problems with the current system, why not try and fix what you already service instead of expanding. Better to have a smaller system that works, than a half assed system spread far and thin.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The problem is the damn parking. $6 per hour on a parking meter is insane. Plenty of metered parking spots are just empty. People refuse to use them. Not at that rate.

      Where is this? My experience is that there’s rarely parking during business hours downtown at parking meters. (And if people are refusing to use them, what are they doing with their cars?)

      What I don’t understand about the STM is, if you have problems with the current system, why not try and fix what you already service instead of expanding.

      The problems you mention are not easy to fix. Metro delays have various causes and there aren’t magical solutions to eliminate them, as much as the STM would love to have them. The STM also agrees that the metro is overloaded during rush hour, but it’s limited in what it can do about that. All or almost all trains that are not in maintenance are in use during rush hour, and they run about two or three minutes apart on the green and orange lines, which is the tightest they can make it for safety reasons.

      They’ve tried things like finding alternatives to the metro. The 427 express bus from St. Joseph Blvd. goes all the way downtown rather than stopping at Laurier metro, and this helps relieve the most congested parts of the orange and green lines. If you have more suggestions I’m sure they’d be happy to hear them.

      Reply
      1. Faiz Imam

        This congestion is one of the main reasons why a tram of some kind makes sense downtown.

        The metro itself has neared its limit and stations like Berri or Mcgill can not deal with more numbers. The fact that they are in the middle of the city and surrounded by other actively used buildings makes renovation difficult, and the last remaining way to increase throughput along the line itself is the new higher capacity end-to-end cars, which will start coming in in a couple years. After that max ridership will be reached and the only solution is a new line.

        Look at NY, they are building a 2nd avenue line for $Billions even though there is another one only a few blocks west. Problem is that its also reached max capacity.

        No way we are going to build a new metro line through downtown Montreal, so a Tram which can handle more passengers than equivalent buses is the best alternative.

        Reply
        1. Alex H

          Faiz, I live in Hong Kong. Here, the Island line runs their trains at 2 minute intervals, which is just about enough time to get a train into a station, load, and out of the station. Montreal’s metro is nowhere near that level, the best is 3 minutes on the green line (for a short period in the morning). There is still plenty to get the system down to 2 minutes (or even less).

          Further, with a second line running parallel through the downtown core (orange line), it wouldn’t be hard to move many more people underground. The real issue in Montreal is a shortage of rolling stock, which really kills things down quite a bit. There really isn’t any way to make the system run better when you have nothing more to give.

          A tram sounds like a nice alternative, but in reality, they are not a very good option. Montreal could do very much better in the downtown core to make better use of the existing east / west bus lanes, and possible make that service work better with the Metro system. It seems silly to think that with all the bus lanes, and all the metro stations in such a small area that any system could consider itself “maxed out”.

          Reply
          1. Fagstein Post author

            There is still plenty to get the system down to 2 minutes (or even less).

            Wait times could diminish slightly with the addition of more trains, but not much. For safety reasons, trains are not permitted to leave a station until the following station is clear. This prevents situations where a train has to wait inside a tunnel. The result is that the time between trains becomes equal to the longest time it takes for a train to travel to a station, open and close its doors and depart. That’s about two minutes, except on the yellow line where it’s longer.

            Reply
            1. Alex H

              Here’s basic math: if the current “best” is 3 minutes, and you cut it down to 2 minutes, you get 50% more trains per hour. At 3 minute gaps, you get 20 trains per hour, and at 2 minute gaps you get 30. That means space to move 50% more people. That wouldn’t be a small gain in service, that would be massive.

              Since the 3 minute thing is only a peak time issue (they compress the space between trains in one direction to do it, it seems), the extra trains at the times where the gap is 4 minutes would mean 100% more service.

              it’s hard to deny that so much more service would be more service.

              As for the safety “don’t stop in the tunnel”, I am thinking that with the new trains, less heat, and better air in the tunnels, this would perhaps be less of an issue. I am sure that with a little effort, they could run 2 minute gaps without any problems, and could certainly up the system capacity massively.

              I actually think Steve that in this case, your answer is a bit of a apologist view. Don’t just tolerate “barely acceptable” service, aim for more. That more might make it more appealing for many more people to take the metro. As a side note for me, I drive everywhere in Montreal, I take public transit everywhere in Hong Kong. It’s may be hard to imagine, but the offerings in public transit here versus driving and parking at destination make it an absolute no brainer. The same cannot be said for Montreal, where a 20 minutes car ride is not so comfortably replaced by an hour or more of public transit.

              Reply
              1. Fagstein Post author

                As for the safety “don’t stop in the tunnel”, I am thinking that with the new trains, less heat, and better air in the tunnels, this would perhaps be less of an issue.

                The problem isn’t the air or the heat, it’s that a train stuck in a tunnel can’t easily be evacuated. When a section of the metro shuts down for whatever reason, which happens occasionally, a train in a tunnel would be prevented from advancing to the next station if there’s a train already there, and this would mean either trapping people inside a tunnel for hours or having to do a tunnel evacuation.

                There’s also the issue of signaling, which is easy when trains are kept a station apart but become more complicated when one train is at a station and the next is speeding toward it.

                I’m not an expert in this, but as I understand it there are very important reasons why this policy is in place. And since there aren’t many trains to add to rush-hour service anyway, it’s kind of a moot point right now.

      2. lagatta à montréal

        Fagstein, yes the 427 is a big help, but since the extension to Monmorency, the orange line is saturated into downtown from Jean-Talon at least. Eventually there should be a parallel tramline; perhaps along Parc.

        Trams have far more carrying capacity than bus lines; they are intermediate between a bus and métro line.

        Solidarités Villeray was calling for a “tarif social” for people under the poverty line (however defined). I don’t think the fare increases are a huge problem for people with a decent job, but for people on the minimum wage, to say nothing of unemployed jobseekers, they are a huge burden.

        But no, I don’t know how this could be administered, unless there were photo IDs as for seniors and students.

        Reply
        1. emdx

          In France, for more than 30 years, there has been the “versement transport”, where the employer pays something like 50% of the monthly pass, and many cities offer free transit for unemployed people.

          Reply
    2. emdx

      Montréal runs the second oldest subway cars in the world; 46 years is pretty old for a subway car…

      However, theit extreme age has prompted the need to study cutting-edge maintenance management methods, and over the last few years, they have actually increased the availability of trains by significantly reducing the MTBF through preventive maintenance in the Beaugrand garage (http://emdx.org/rail/metro/beaugrand.php).

      Reply
  7. Dave

    The express buses are a nice idea, but they suffer from one of the same problems that plague the commuter trains.
    People need a way to get to them. Some of these 400 series buses are even running on the 10 minute max schedule, but the buses that feed them frequently run at half-hour increments (even during rush hours).

    Reply
  8. Marie-Elizabeth

    I lived in Montreal and used the public transport for most of my life until I recently moved to Melbourne and I may say there is not one day that passes by where I wish the system and prices here were like Montreal. I don’t believe I have complained as much about the Montreal service as I have for the Melbourne service (every single day). The Montreal service is not perfect but is far better than many other places. Price-wise, what do you think about a public transport authority that prices their monthly pass at the same rate than 20 day passes. This means that we are paying for all travels Mon-Fri and only have weekends free (which are already cheaper than weekdays). This also means that if you don’t use public transport on the weekends and there is a holiday or you take a day off work, you will have paid more than if you simply bought your pass on a daily basis.
    I love the Montreal public transport system it is convenient (don’t have to go to through the city every time you need to connect with another train), frequent (compared to trains every 20mins here), mostly underground (no train crossing blocking city traffic) and works well in winter time.
    There is likely to be better public transport elsewhere but in general, Montreal’s transport is far better than many other places.

    Reply
  9. Charlie

    I’m horrified at the thought of the deficits run by the STM pre-Opus. Fares were incredibly – if not artificially – low and many people used bogus/old transfers or monthly passes.

    As for the quality of service, there has undoubtedly been an increase since 2007. The 10 Minute Max network, though mostly just a name (http://i.imgur.com/lTTaH.png; for 02 November 2012, 10:00 AM), has been helpful for easing congestion on buses. Most Westies know the horrors of riding an overstuffed 211 in the summer.

    Though not necessarily an STM project, the reserved bus lanes on the highway – don’t get me started on the Saint-Patrick “shortcut” – have also contributed to an improvement of service; the buses, by zipping down the 20, allow for generally better service by arriving and departing from Lionel-Groulx on time.

    So yes, STM, take my money. Just don’t buy trams and fill the freakin’ streets with buses.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The 10 Minute Max network, though mostly just a name (http://i.imgur.com/lTTaH.png; for 02 November 2012, 10:00 AM), has been helpful for easing congestion on buses. Most Westies know the horrors of riding an overstuffed 211 in the summer.

      To clarify, the 211 bus is no longer part of the 10 Minutes Max network. It was pulled when service was reduced with the launch of alternative lines along the same Lionel-Groulx-to-Dorval corridor.

      Reply
  10. mike from montreal

    Two questions:
    1) What are the prices for bus pass in other NA cities? Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver…etc
    2) How many concerts, sports events are sponsored by STM per year?

    There is no reason to have STM and AMT.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      1) What are the prices for bus pass in other NA cities? Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver…etc

      Monthly adult passes cost $126 in Toronto, $92.25 $96.25 in Ottawa (not including express routes), $81 in Vancouver (but only in the city of Vancouver), $94 in Calgary, $84.65 in Edmonton, and $76.75 in Quebec City

      2) How many concerts, sports events are sponsored by STM per year?

      It’s listed as a sponsor for many events in Montreal, including the Alouettes games (where it provides a free shuttle service), the Rogers Cup and some cultural events. How much money that means is a bigger question. I imagine STM provides most of its event support in the form of its services.

      Reply
      1. William Moss

        Steve, Ottawa is 96.25, not 92.25. The other thing to look at is the cost of a monthly pass in terms of single trip tickets? A regular Ottawa pass costs 37 single trips, if paid for with tickets. (Ottawa only prints one kind of ticket, so a non-express adult fare is $2.60 or two $1.30 tickets)

        Hopefully, Presto smartcards will be working well enough to launch in Ottawa in February. Then we’ll get transferable monthly passes, and cheaper single trip prices by using cash on the Presto card instead of tickets. This makes it easier for a couple with one car to swap the bus pass over the course of the month, depending on who needs the car that day, without stranding the other spouse.

        Reply
          1. William Moss

            “Better get a new hat!”
            “This time for sure!”
            Presto will now be phased in starting in January, but OC transpo has until June 1 to call the whole thing off if it doesn’t work.
            No other smart card system had ever planned a flash cut, and the guy who decided that OC Transpo should do that quit Metrolinx (the provincial agency supplying the Presto card system) when this whole debacle came to the fore last spring.

            Many bus users are complaining that the system is overly reliant on using phone and internet to top up Presto cards, with only a limited number of OC Transpo sales outlets selling Presto topups over the counter.
            And I still see Presto readers on buses with error messages.

            “And now, for something we hope you’ll really like!”

            Reply
    2. Marc

      There is no reason to have STM and AMT.

      For the Montreal area, I agree. But Marois wants to replace the Mnistry of Transport with a Transport agency. So we could well end up with one transit provider serving the whole province.

      Reply
  11. Pingback: Are the STM’s fare hikes STILL unreasonable? – Fagstein

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