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Public transit fare structure
Simplifying access to public transit
Fares are central to the public transit experience. While a simple, flexible fare system tailored to the needs and realities of users can act as an incentive, an overly complex or rigid structure can be a deterrent to using public transit.
Today, we have a greater diversity of modes of transportation within the territory, and our trips are more complex, a trend that has been increasing over the years. It is crucial, therefore, to rethink the fare structure in the metropolitan area so that it can be adapted to the changing needs of citizens and the services they use. This is the starting point for fare restructuring.
This process, which aims to promote public transit and make it easier to use by adapting fares to users’ needs, will be undertaken alongside the implementation of the strategic development plan, and will allow the public to express its views on the key aspects of the planned fare reform. The reform will need to propose rates that help improve people’s mobility, while integrating the use of new modes of transport and the latest technologies. In addition to simplifying the fare structure, it must offer fare products that are aligned with new services currently being developed in the metropolitan area and that are adapted to the needs and realities of all users.
Every day, I help people out by giving them the information they need to get to where they want to go.
Rose, Montmorency metropolitan ticket office
The ARTM has begun preparatory work on redesigning the fare structure, which should be completed by the end of 2019.
The main work in progress concerns:
- The fare structure: how fares should be determined
- Seamless mobility: how to simplify the use of multiple modes of transport
- Social pricing: identifying needs and how can they be met
- Technology: what types of technology should be used
Specific documentation outlining the current situation and explaining needs and challenges will be made public in winter 2019. Once this information has been disseminated, citizen participation activities will be held.
The current transit fare structure has been shaped by the historical context of the metropolitan area. Fare restructuring must take into account the unique characteristics of the region.
The public transit network in the metropolitan Montréal area has two fare levels: local fares and integrated metropolitan fares. Local transport fare products provide access only to the network for which they are issued, namely the STM, the STL, the RTL, and each of the 11 sectors of the exo network.
Metropolitan fare products provide access to all networks serving the areas for which they are issued. Current metropolitan pricing is based on eight concentric rate zones with downtown Montréal at their centre. The rate for metropolitan fare products increases the further the zone is from the city centre.
Pricing history in the region
Since 1965, public authorities have sought to make the travel experience simpler and more beneficial for citizens by minimizing fare obstacles. In 1982, the government of Québec proposed a fare structure common to all transport operators in the metropolitan area for the benefit of users. An important step in this direction was taken in 1998 with the adoption of fare integration, creating metropolitan fare products common to all operators. In 2008, the introduction of the OPUS sales and collection system, which integrates most of the metropolitan area’s fare products into a single smart card, began harmonizing fare practices. The creation of this system represents a milestone in efforts to modernize because it makes it easier to access products through many vending machines, allows users to reload their cards remotely and register them for reimbursement in the event of loss, and offers a series of other mechanisms that personalize the customer relationship. More recently, the integration of an annual transit pass, modeled on the monthly transit pass created more than 30 years ago, marked another step towards building loyalty and establishing a special relationship with frequent customers.
Highlights of fare changes in the metropolitan area
Abolishment of fare zones and integration of bus and metro fares in Montréal
Introduction of reduced rate for people aged 65 and over in Montréal
Introduction of the CAM (bus and metro pass)
Implementation of subsidies for fare integration
Introduction of combined tickets (inter-operator)
Creation of a regional transportation map par 1990 Creation of a regional transportation pass
Implementation of a new financial and institutional framework leading to the creation of the AMT
Implementation of integrated fare structure and definition of zone-based system
Implementation of metropolitan unit tickets par 1999 Implementation of metropolitan single fare tickets
Introduction of reduced fare for Montréal students aged 18 to 25 Implementation of fare integration support
Introduction of OPUS sales and collection system for all modes and networks
Creation of the ARTM with exclusive jurisdiction over pricing. First ARTM fare structure Extension of student discount to age 64
Start of construction of the Réseau Express Métropolitain
New fare structure for the metropolitan area.