Authorities at the agency that oversees the multiple mass transit systems in greater Montreal, L’Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) have ambitious plans to restructure the fare system for all transit users.
Plans are in the works to eliminate the 153 different transit passes and amalgamate them into just a few instead.
Officials insist this will simplify transit use for riders and reduce fares.
“No fare increase for 95 per cent of our customers,” Daniel Bergeron, the executive director of transit planning for the ARTM, said during a media debrief on Zoom.
Fares are also scheduled to come down for seniors and students.
The new fare structure will be phased in over several years but will start this summer — for people living off the Island of Montreal.
All of this is being planned as the new light rail transit system, the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), continues to roll out. The all-electric train network that links greater Montreal is scheduled to be in full service by the end of 2024.
Some transit users applaud the new fare structure being introduced by the ARTM but they don’t want to pay for services they don’t need.
“For me, it makes sense for me to pay a fair share for all the services I use but only the ones I use,” Sandy Weigens, a long-time public transit user told Global News.
For instance, commuter train riders will eventually have to pay for their passenger rail service in addition to bus and metro service in Montreal, even if they don’t use it, according to the ARTM. However, some may actually save money depending on how far they live from Montreal.
Bergeron says the transit agencies in greater Montreal expect to lose more than $1 billion for the years 2020 and 2021 due to a lack of ridership amid the pandemic.
Officials just hope users will soon start returning to mass transit systems in the near future as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.