Montreal has an excellent public transit system. It is safe and fast, and you can get almost anywhere with it. It is operated by the STM [Societé de transport de Montréal]. If you use the metro or bus often, you should buy a monthly or weekly pass. A smart pass [OPUS card] can by used by putting the card on top of the turnstile when you enter the metro station. If you go in once, you can’t go in again at that station for 20 minutes. To use the bus, just put the pass on the machine next to the driver.
Every month, you charge the card using the vending machine in the metro station, with your bank or credit card (some machines also take cash). To buy a regular card, you have to pay $6.00, then you have to charge it for each month, or for a week, or for just tickets (single rides). It is your choice. Don’t throw away the card, you can use it again. Also, if you pay income taxes in Canada, keep the receipt from the vending machine, because you can use the receipts to reduce your income taxes.
STM Fares usually go up every year. Click here for the latest fares from the STM website.
If you are under 25 years old, you can get a special student OPUS card so you can pay much cheaper (see the prices below).
First, go to the CELI office (FB 117) to get a special form. Complete it and go to Metro McGill, go to the 2020 building at the northwest west end of the station. Look for the signs to find a place called the STM Photo Studio [Studio de photo de la STM]. You need ID to show your age (you must be 17 to 25, show your passport or other ID card), your Concordia student card and something with your address (like a phone bill or hydro bill). It costs $15 to get the card. The card is good until October 31st of the following year. You need to get a new one every year. In September and October, many students from all the colleges and universities want to get their cards, so it is busy, and sometimes there are long line-ups to wait.
To use your cheaper pass, you have to show your special student ID card at the station or to the bus driver. If you use the cheaper pass without your special ID card, you can get a $250 fine. The pass will only work in the turnstile (entrance) nearest to the the person in the ticket booth, so he/she can see your ID on the back of the card.
The STM Photo Studio is open Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am to 5:00 pm
at Metro McGill, 2020 University, room B315
If you use single tickets, they work for a one-way trip. You put the ticket in the turnstile, and it comes out again on top. Take your ticket, because it is a transfer for taking the bus after the metro, or the metro after the bus.
The metro has 68 stations on four lines (Green, Orange, Yellow and Blue) connecting the island of Montreal to the island of Laval and the South Shore. You can get a map of the metro and bus system at any metro station or at the STM website.
The metro and buses run seven days a week from 5:30 am until 12:30 am (1:00 am on Saturday nights). There are differences on different lines. Check the official schedule here.
» Bus Schedules
To get schedules for buses, you can get a free schedule on the bus or at metro stations the bus stops at. Also, you can download the schedules from the Planibus site in pdf format.
If you want to go somewhere, but you don’t know how to get there, try the Tous Azimuts site from the STM. You can use a map or enter an address for your starting point and destination, and Tous Azimuts will tell you different ways to go by metro and bus, and how long each way will take.
» Airport Express Bus #747
If you have a monthly OPUS card, or a weekly or day pass, you can take the special STM Airport Bus (#747) to and from Montreal-Trudeau Airport. If you have no pass, you can pay $8 (coins only) on the bus. It has special racks for suitcases. The bus starts at the bus station at Metro Berri-UQAM, and makes several stops along René-Lévesque Blvd. (including a stop near Concordia, at Guy Street). Then it makes one more stop at Metro Lionel-Groulx, then goes directly to the airport. Depending on the time of day, it takes about 20 minutes from Lionel-Groulx to the airport. You can get Express Bus 747 schedule here (pdf).
If you live in a suburb such as Laval, Longueuil, Brossard or on the WestIsland, you can buy a special pass called a TRAM. This pass can be used for the train, the bus, and the metro. There are different prices for the TRAM card, depending on where you live and where you want to go. For more information, check the AMT website. The regular OPUS cards don’t work in the three metro stations in Laval. You have to buy an extra ticket.
Information about the bus service in Laval: Laval STL
Information about the bus service on the South Shore: Longueuil RTL
If you are interested in the Montreal metro, there is a really interesting website with lots of extra information.