Public and active transport | What if everything was in one app?

BIXI, Communauto, subway, bus, taxi, carpooling: how about paying just once a month for all public or active transit services in Montreal, based on your usage, in a single application? The Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM) is currently working on this long-term project.

Posted at 9:00 am

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vezina
The press

“Our goal is really to see how we can offer a real mobility portfolio that would include public transport, bicycles or self-service cars and all emerging modes of transport. We really want to offer trips from point A to point B with a one-stop solution,” explained ARTM Director General Benoît Gendron in an interview with The press.

However, such a mobile application is not for tomorrow. Internally, it is envisaged that it could see the light of day “gradually” over the next five to six years. There are still some talks to be had, but ideas are already emerging.

“This could mean, for example, that the user pays their public transport bill at the end of the month, depending on how they use it. We would then calculate the most interesting package with a cap to be able to pay according to the modes used, instead of paying at the beginning of the month to have a capped title,” indicates the organization’s spokesman, Simon Charbonneau.

The app stopwatch, which will be available for a few months, already includes the services of metro Montreal transit companies. But she sticks to it. What is currently being prepared in the ARTM is a veritable “buffet of services” where everything is offered in one place at a price adapted to each use.

“When we talk about dust removal from public transport, that’s really what it’s about,” says Benoît Gendron bluntly.


Benoît Gendron, Director General of ARTM

It means making public transport travel easy and predictable, as is the case with Uber or other platforms, for example. In particular, for a user who wants to go downtown quickly, it can be an electric bike that takes him to the subway, and so on. All of this would be built into the application itself.

Benoît Gendron, Director General of ARTM

According to our information, Quebec has also commissioned ARTM to study the possibility of offering such a platform beyond the greater Montreal area. Each city could thus potentially use it according to its own regional mobility realities.

A “very lively” project

According to Pierre Barrieau, an expert in transport planning from the University of Montreal, the idea of ​​an all-encompassing application is very promising. “It’s what we call MAAS in English Mobility as a service. Instead of buying a car, we’re selling the fact that we’re buying a variety of modes of transport, not just the subway or bus, for example,” he explains.

It really is the next step in public transport. The number 1 problem at the moment is that all technological platforms like BIXI, STM or Communauto do not talk to each other. Bringing them together is not only very feasible, but above all very pragmatic.

Pierre Barrieau, Transportation Planning Expert at the University of Montreal

Two other innovations should also arrive in the greater Montreal area next year: open payment, which would be done on the subway or buses with a credit or debit card, and recharging the OPUS card with a smartphone. Both initiatives were the subject of a pilot project, the conclusions of which seem satisfactory.

All of this happens when, since Janah In July, city transit passes gave way to metropolitan passes in the greater Montreal area. All users now have to pay between $94 and $255 per month to travel through the network, depending on the number of zones used each day.

Essentially, this overhaul brings together four zones in Greater Montreal: Zone A (Agglomeration Montreal), Zone B (Agglomeration Laval and Longueuil), and Zones C and D (North and South Crowns). Two main titles remain: one “all modes of transport” allowing use of the subway, Metropolitan Express Network (REM), buses and suburban trains, the other “bus everywhere” allowing use of all bus networks in the metropolitan area . If required, “special REM-related” bus tariffs are also offered.

For example, a Montrealer who paid US$90.50 for a monthly fare with the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) must now upgrade to the All Modes A fare to travel around the island, which costs US$94 -dollars cost. An All Modes AB title costs $150, while an All Modes ABC title costs $184 and an All Modes ABCD title costs $255. All bus networks in Montreal, Laval and Longueuil are combined under the same “Bus Pass” which costs $105 per month. The “uniform” title is held at $3.50.

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  • fifteen%
    “Permanent” loss of revenue, which the ARTM will probably have to deal with even after the end of the pandemic. Losses this year are estimated at $250-400 million.

    Source: Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority

    Passenger numbers on public transport compared to before the pandemic

    Source: Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority

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