Posted at 5:00 am
Back-to-school is straining the wallet of Annie Tremblay, who lives in the northern Montreal suburbs: her teenage daughter’s public transportation bill has climbed to nearly $110 a month with the new Authority Regional Transport Authority (ARTM) fare schedule doubled. .
“That’s an 80% increase compared to last year, that’s absurd! ‘ protested Mme Tremble.
Her 13-year-old daughter Vicky lives in Saint-Colomban and attends high school in Sainte-Thérèse, where she completes a sports degree in freestyle skiing.
After catching a shared taxi from home at 6:10 in the morning, Vicky takes the train from Saint-Jérôme to Sainte-Thérèse and then the bus to school.
After the new tariff zones that came into force on 1ah July, the teenager stays in Zone C during her bus and train journeys. However, she has to buy a pass for Zones A, B and C, even if she doesn’t go to Montreal or Laval.
A monthly pass for the ABC zones “all modes” costs $110 for students. It used to be possible to buy an “all modes” Zone C student pass for $61.50, but this option has been removed since last July. A Zone C pass that allows you to take the bus is only $63 at a discounted rate.
In addition m.me Tremblay found it impossible to obtain an OPUS student card for the ABC zones for his daughter at Saint-Jérôme train station.
“I have to go to the Sainte-Thérèse train station to have my daughter’s card made,” she regrets. I find it ridiculous to have to take my car to use public transport. With this tariff overhaul, ARTM will lose customers and encourage solo driving. »
Three OPUS cards to get around
According to a report on the revision of ARTM tariffs published on Tuesday, The press has received numerous testimonials from public transport users who regret the complexity of the new system, which requires some passengers to have multiple OPUS cards.
This is the case of Carole Lorange from Longueuil.
“I am over 65 years old. So I need a photo card, she writes us. As I occasionally use public transport from Longueuil to Montreal, I have an AB card with the appropriate titles. Since sometimes I only had to travel in zone A, I had to have another card made for line A tickets and if I only had to go to Longueuil, I had to have a third card B, not to mention the complexity of using mine Remaining titles on my old card, allow some to return from Montreal but not go there…”
At ARTM we reply that the problems reported by our two readers are due to “the technological limitations of the OPUS platform”.
“Unfortunately, the ‘all modes C’ title had to be withdrawn last July due to the limitations of the technological platform,” explains Anne-Marie Roux, director of quality of service for users of the ARTM, on the subject of Annie Tremblay’s case.
This decision was made with regret, but it only affected a very small number of users. Most internal travel in Zone C is by bus. Very few users combine train and bus without leaving Zone C.
Anne-Marie Roux, Director of Quality of Service for users of the ARTM
Regarding Carole Lorange’s situation, where many public transit users travel within multiple zones, Ms.me Roux describes it as a “rather atypical situation”.
“This person may use standard A, AB and bus tickets and not a monthly pass,” she summarizes. In fact, these three types of passports cannot coexist on the same OPUS card, three separate passports are required. Again, this limitation derives from the technological limitations of the OPUS platform, which cannot determine the ultimate goal of the user at the time of validation. »
An “inconsistent” system
Jean-Philippe Meloche, a specialist in urban economics and transport at the Faculty of Planning at the Université de Montréal, was surprised to learn that some users now need three different OPUS cards.
“Obviously someone, somewhere, hasn’t given the new system a good thought,” he comments. It goes without saying that everyone drives downtown, but there is an increasing number of suburb-to-suburb trips. »
In his opinion, the best way to reform tariffs would have been to introduce a system that registers a traveler’s entry but also their exit, in order to adjust charges according to the distance traveled.
“The current system is incompatible with people’s movements,” notes Mr. Meloche. It is contradictory to have to pay more just because I cross the river while someone who travels 10 stations on the island of Montreal pays less. »
Should we have a fixed price for the entire network, like Germany, which experimented in the summer with a €9 monthly pass that allows you to use all public transport?
It’s certainly a very simple solution, Jean-Philippe Meloche replies, but it’s a remote subsidy that encourages urban sprawl, he says.