Photo cred - major tom

Busiest subway system in Canada, third most busy in North America, used for more than 350 million separate trips annually - there are a lot of good things you can say about the STM metro. Too bad some of those 350 million trips are made through stations that resemble a bleak Soviet-era prison chamber. Some are badly designed, some are situated in the ugliest places in Montreal, and some are just victims of shitty construction projects that were never finished.

To explain why we love to hate these stops, we're going to score the worst out of four categories - smell, construction/graffiti, ease of navigation, and a "gut reaction" X-factor -  giving the most objective explanation for why each one is a way-station to a level of hell.

1. Guy-Concordia (Green line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 0/10

Ease of navigation: 4/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 0/10

Total score: 4/30

At the MTL Blog offices, when we first brought up the idea for this article, the only station that everyone agreed on was Guy-Concordia.

Where do I start? The half-finished ad boards filled with graffiti? The dirty floors? The weird liquid that drips everywhere? How the temperature inside remains roughly at 90°C, even in the dead of winter, making it feel like a trip through Satan's armpit? Guy-Concordia is also cursed with the smell of metro pizza and Cocobun wafting around, which is not as great as you'd think. That smell curses all regular commuters with a negative Pavlovian reaction where the smell of delicious food conjure up images of water-stained tiles and drunk Concordia students pissing on metro steps.

Even if you're not a squeamish person, remember the period in summer when the Guy exit was boarded up for construction, so everyone was forced to enter and exit from St-Mathieu? Awful.


2. Beaudry (Green line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 2/10

Ease of navigation: 3/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 7/10

Total score: 12/30

Beaudry station is right outside the Gay Village, and the outside is actually not bad. In the summer, the outside is bright and cheerful, the tiles make up a great and distinctive pattern, and the rainbow masts have been adorable ever since they were first installed in 1999. The X-factor would have been 10/10, if it wasn't for the damned inclined moving sidewalk.

It takes forever to exit the metro, the navigation inside is a mess, and apparently, the moving sidewalk needs custom parts for repairs, making it a headache for the STM as well as the commuters. 12/30.


3. Fabre (Blue line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 2/10

Ease of navigation: 7/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 5/10

Total score: 14/30

Nothing too bad with Fabre, but the tile patterns look like:

  • Half a cartoon butt, repeated infinitely
  • A stack of steamrolled Megabloks
  • A colourful sideways zit that needs to be popped

You're welcome.


4. Lucien L'Allier (Orange line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 4/10

Ease of navigation: 2/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 7/10

Total score: 13/30

For "ease of navigation", I took away 8 points from a perfect 10, because 8 is how many flights of stairs you have to climb down before you get the urge to write an epic poem about your descent into the pits of hell, Dante Alighieri-style.

And then you climb down 8 more so you can get to the damn metro platform.


5. Longueuil (Yellow line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 8/10

Ease of navigation: 1/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 7/10

Total score: 16/30

The turnstiles in Longueuil are located directly on the departure platforms, so if you want to switch directions on Longueuil, better be ready to scan your monthly pass again (if you're lucky) or re-pay your fare (if you're unlucky). Who designed this?


6. Montmorency (Orange line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 8/10

Ease of navigation: 2/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 5/10

Total score: 15/30

If you ever go to Montmorency, be prepared to pay a RTL fare on the way back, because your regular STM pass won't work in Laval. Not the worse thing ever, but enough to drop its ease of navigation down to a 2 out of 10. I'm also giving it a X-factor of 5, because it's so far away from the rest of Montreal.


7. Berri-UQAM (Green, Orange, Yellow Line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 9/10

Ease of navigation: 4/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 9/10

Total score: 22/30

Emphasis on the "love" in the "love to hate". The signs are as confusing as hell to navigate for a newbie, who will be stuck blocking the way of seasoned transit users as they figure out which glowing sign to actually follow.

But if you're one of the regular commuters, Berri-UQAM is awesome. It's in the middle of everything. It services the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal, the Grande Bibliothèque du Québec, the Cinémathèque Québecoise, and theUniversité du Québec à Montréal (of course). You can grab a pizza, drink a coffee, and shop for expensive stationary without setting foot outside.

The recent renovations look pretty good. The station itself is decently clean. The lighting is very fluorescent, but what else do you expect in a metro hub? The exit tunnels, once you know where you're going, take you close to wherever you want to go around the Quartier Latin.

I love Berri. Others hate it. We'll agree to disagree.


Photo cred - louis capwell

8. Jean-Talon (Blue line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 5/10

Ease of navigation: 6/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 8/10

Total score: 19/30

Jean-Talon's bright colour scheme is nice, especially during winter when everything is dead and grey outside. Some people find the tunnel inside Jean-Talon way too long though. Like I said, "love to hate".


9. Côte-Vertu (Orange line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 5/10

Ease of navigation: 5/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 0/10

Total score: 10/30

Something about Côte-Vertu just gives a terrible impression. Maybe it's because the layout of the bus terminal is confusing. Maybe it's because everything around the station exists in a permanent state of meh.


10. Atwater in the morning or late afternoon (Green Line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 8/10

Ease of navigation: 5/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 6/10

Total score: 19/30

So many Dawson College students crowding on and off. So many.


11. Saint-Laurent (Green line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 9/10

Ease of navigation: 9/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 0/10

Total score: 18/30

For a metro so close to Chinatown and the Plateau, in a city whose metro stations are famed for being designed by different artists and architects,  you'd think the metro could be a bit less...generic.


12. Cadillac (Green line)

Construction and/or graffiti: 7/10

Ease of navigation: 8/10

"Gut impression" X-factor: 0/10

Total score: 15/30

Cadillac is straight forward to use, and it's well constructed, if you're into the whole grey 70's cement thing. The only trouble is that it's so bland - so symmetrical, so functional,so soullessly modern- that you can depart and exit from Cadillac every single day and still be unable to recall what it looks like. In other words,an X-factor of 0.


13. All of them, if you're in a wheelchair

To anyone with limited mobility, good luck getting adequate access to pulic transport. There are only seven stations with elevators for wheelchairs, and they're all on the orange line.

If you’re also a weirdo about Montreal culture and humour, find Sijia on Twitter (@chuffystilton) or on her tumblr.


Looking for more? Click here for the Top 10 Most Dangerous Montreal Metro Stations >

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