Montreal can be an expensive city to visit, especially if you plan on doing a lot of traveling around and exploring. While renting a car might seem like a good idea, it might be wise to reconsider – while Montreal is one of the most expensive places to run a car, it is also one of the cheapest to use public transportation. Many cities in the world have an underground subway system, but on my travels to Montreal, I have found a subway system unlike any other I have ever seen.
There are many benefits to using Montreal’s metro system – called the metro because it is the short form of the French word for Subway. The Montreal Metro one of the benefits is that it makes it easier to get to the island. It’s also cheaper than running a car, and it’s fast, quiet, and convenient – not to mention you don’t have to try to find a parking spot!
There are 68 metro stations in Montreal, spread out over four lines – green, orange, yellow and blue. The green line starts in Angrignon and ends in Honore-Beaugrand. Orange starts in Montmorency and ends in Cote-Vertu. The yellow line starts in Longueuil and ends in Berri-UQAM. Finally, the blue line starts in Snowdon and ends in Saint-Michel. Each line runs every day of the week, as well as the weekend, and departures are quite frequent – you shouldn’t have to wait around much longer than ten minutes. A blue sign with a white circle and downward-pointing arrow indicates that there is a metro station. The metro stations are marked on all city maps, and if a bus route stops at a metro station the bus-stop sign will indicate this. A map of all of the stations is available on the Societe de Transport de Montreal (STM) website, here: http://www.stm.info/English/metro/a-mapmet.htm.
When I first used the metro, I will admit I was surprised to find that the stations all have different styles, layout, and décor. I grew up in a small town, and as a person who found it scary enough to just be taking an underground train, I was relieved to see how much easier it is to find which stop is yours when no two stops are the same – the maps in each station and train also help here. Aside from that, all of the different pieces of art in the stations made me feel a little more cultured and sophisticated, as if I was seeing more of the city, even as I was below it. Even though each station is a part of the same system, they were all different – and all equally pleasing to the eye, I might add.
The stations are not the only unique part of the Montreal metro. This subway system was the first of its kind to use trains with rubber tires as opposed to metal. These rubber tires have a few benefits; they make the ride far quieter for the rider, they allow the train to take corners at a higher speed, and they help the train to take on steeper slopes than metal wheels would. Because of these rubber tires, the train runs entirely underground. Otherwise, the Canadian winters would make the rubber tires impractical.
Getting your tickets for the metro is quite easy, but depending on who you are and where you are going, the tickets you get may vary. For example, if you are taking a single trip, you would buy one ticket from the vending machines or from the booth by the turnstiles. However, if you plan on taking a lot of trips in one evening, you can instead get the Unlimited Evening pass, or if you want to make a weekend of it, you can get the Unlimited Weekend pass. There are many deals like this, and there are reduced fare rates for people 6-17 years, 18-25 years, and seniors (65+) in some situations. For a complete list of fares and options, visit the STM website, here: http://www.stm.info/English/tarification/a-grilletarif.htm.
It is possible to transfer from the metro to the bus, or vice versa. To do this, simply get a transfer slip from the metro station or the bus driver. Transfer slips are valid for 90 minutes. Remember to keep it with you – this slip is your proof of purchase, and if you lose it, you lose the right to transfer and must purchase another slip.
As I mentioned, I grew up in a small town, and riding the metro was quite scary for me – I am not really “used to” being around trains, and these ones move pretty fast. If you are afraid of getting near something that seems so dangerous, I have come up with a few tips that might help you out.
- Stay off the tracks. This seems like common sense, but if you don’t want to get hit by a train, you probably shouldn’t be occupying the same space that a train is supposed to be occupying.
- Don’t lean over the tracks. It’s okay to take a little peek to see if anything is coming, but there is no reason to keep your head out there for any longer than a few seconds.
- Stay away from the doors. Yes, you need to go through them to get onto the train, but once you are in, try to give them space to close. The cars can get crowded, especially during rush hour, but you can squeeze into a car without getting too close to the doors.
- Late-night travel can be scary, especially if you are alone. If you don’t have a friend to travel with, try to stay near groups of people. The latest the trains run is 1:30 in the morning. If you feel safer taking a cab, that is always an alternative.
Taking the metro in Montreal can be a truly enjoyable and unique experience. It is cost efficient, convenient, and fast, and with the right tools and resources it is very easy to use. By using common sense and the tips provided, your ride on the metro can be comfortable and safe. Happy riding!
I like to thank Emily Hana Gaill for her great assistance in the creation of this article. Emily is a creative writer and well known for her contributions of writings in her year book and the magazine called Teens Now Talk.
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