Say what you want about the Montreal transit system, it is still one of the most extensive and efficient on the continent.
Look no further than Toronto for the kind of antiquated public transit, including two small metro lines and a web of trolleys, that Montreal ditched long ago.
The four lines of the STM metro connect the island to both the north and south shores, covering the entire width of the island, and include an impressive stretch from east to west on the green line, too.
Most remarkable, though, is the STM pricing system. A passenger could travel from Côte-Vertu to Honoré-Beaugrand, at the extremeties of the orange and green lines, for the same price as a quick trip between adjoining stations – just three dollars for a one-way ticket.
That makes the Montreal metro extremely equitable. Less affluent neighbourhoods away from the downtown have as much access to public transportation as the millionaires, even billionaires, that call the downtown home. Though, pricing at the three orange line station in Laval is a little different.
That accessibility could soon disappear, however.
According to the Journal de Montréal, officials at the ARTM, the government agency that oversees all of the city's transportation networks, including the STM, are considering a pricing system according to geographic zones. A similar scheme already exists in Washington, D.C. and Paris, where those who travel longer distances on the metro have to pay more money.
In Washington it is particularly complicated. D.C. metro riders without monthly passes have to submit their tickets at the end of their journeys and pay according to the distance they covered. The Paris metro system is a little less convoluted. The entirety of downtown Paris comprises a single price zone, so people moving within that area are largely unaffected.
There's no word yet about just how the Montreal metro and commuter rail systems would be divided, but the sheer length of some of the lines would allow officials to seriously increase prices at their farthest reaches. There is as yet no mention of higher monthly costs for OPUS cards, either, though the STL already has higher prices.
Travelling through Montreal could get a lot more expensive.