STM to test new payment system for 747 bus

At its meeting Wednesday night, the STM’s board of directors approved something I found a bit odd: a new fare designed specifically for the westbound 747 bus.

The 747 already has a special fare. Now they’re going to have different fares for different directions?

Not exactly. Carl Desrosiers, the STM’s general manager, explained after the meeting that the transit agency is about to install a series of new machines along the 747’s westbound route, that will allow people to get tickets for the bus using their credit cards.

The machines will be installed at every westbound downtown stop along the 747’s route some time in the coming months, and we could see more of them on the STM’s network if the pilot project goes well.

The fare for the 747 is $8, and goes up to $9 in January (even with the reduced fare hikes announced earlier that day). Not only do the buses not accept credit or debit cards, but they don’t accept paper money either, which means people have to pay this fare with at least five coins.

So these machines will be a way for tourists and others heading for the airport to be able to pay for a fare without having to find a metro station or get lots of change from someone.

Desrosiers says the new type of fare will cost the same as the usual 747 fare.

But why only for westbound buses? Desrosiers explains that those coming from the airport can use a special vending machine just inside the terminal next to the bus stop, so there’s no need for a similar device.

Information counter and fare machine at Trudeau Airport next to the 747 stop.

12 thoughts on “STM to test new payment system for 747 bus

  1. emdx

    It’s not hard to understand that the credit card payment won’t be implemented in buses, because half the time I take the 747 (3-4 times a week), normal buses are assigned to the run. So if a credit card reader was affixed to the farebox, some buses would not be able to accept payment.

    Also, paying with a credit card takes longer than pouring coins in the farebox (or swiping a ticket), so you could quickly run into boarding times issues, whereas a vending machine lets you get your ticket in advance, moving the payment delay outside of the bus.

    However, with the rise of smart debit cards, it would eventually impossible for the STM to look into implementing this into their fareboxen.

    That said, they should still look into speeding-up the farebox card readers, because 2-3 seconds per card is a very long time; more than once on rush-hour I’ve seen driver wave people, telling them not to put their cards on the reader to speed-up boarding…

    1. SN86

      To speed up boarding they can switch to what the RTL Longueuil has: a fast, auxiliary smart card reader which possibly could be made to accept credit cards.

    2. Faiz Imam

      Technically speaking the OPUS readers are compatible with contact payment solutions used in credit cards(paypass, paywave), as well as NFC in newer smartphones. But currently such a system would need a persistent data connection, not to mention a time consuming transaction process.

      But I can imagine in the future OPUS being integrated with a dedicated smartphone app, much like starbucks, square and a few others: you install the app, authorize it with a payment source, then just just launch it and put it on the farebox OPUS reader. a tourist with a smartphone could go through the entire process in under a minute.

      Google, Apple and Microsoft, not to mention every financial company in the world, are working on having an easy way to turn a phone into an effortless way to pay for anything. While its a bit of a mess for now, it will simplify just like cards did. You used to have, interac, visa, mastercard, discover, amex, discovery and a host of others that were not compatible, but after a while it all settled down and everything worked with everything.

      STM people said at one point that they are considering this, but given the mess the current ticketing system is in, i wouldn’t expect anything that innovative for years…

  2. TK

    Well, it’s better than it used to be. When the bus started out, you had to pay in cash, and they provided no receipt (save your ticket). What a city!

    1. Marc

      Yeah, Montreal has absolutely no use for an airport. Need to go to Germany for something? Yeah, okay, I’m leaving tonight, be there in 10 days.

      And these trains and ships run off diesel, right? Oh no, must be fairy dust.

      Certainly you must have something else to do besides be a troll.

      Jet engines pollute a tiny fraction of what they did even 15 years ago.

    2. John

      Great idea! Next time I go to Calgary I’ll take the train. Oh, wait. There is no passenger train to Calgary. From anywhere. Although I could take the train to Toronto, then one of the three weekly (that’s right, three per week) trains from Toronto heading west, get to Edmonton 2 1/2 days later then take a bus to Calgary. And that’s certainly not an electrified route.


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