How does public transportation work in Montreal?

How does public transportation work in Montreal?How does public transportation work in Montreal?

If you recently got your Canadian visa and already live in Montreal, you have probably noticed how beautiful and big the city is, in fact, after Toronto it is the largest in Canada.

As an immigrant and resident of this beautiful country, I know first-hand what it's like to arrive and not have a car to move around the city, that's why I decided to create this short guide to getting around Montreal's public transport. Below, I present the alternatives offered by the system:

The Montreal Metro:

This is one of the most common forms of transportation among Quebecers. The system consists of four basic lines identified by colors, although they are also complemented by the number and name of the terminus station; This way you can find the yellow, blue, orange and green lines, which usually cover the entire island of Montreal and only the yellow line takes you to the outskirts of the city. 

How much does a one-way metro ticket cost?

The cost of the ticket per person is 3.50 $ CAD, that trip is one-way, to return to your point of origin or go to another place, you must buy another ticket, but there is an option that allows you to save a little money and acquire more trips to move unlimitedly around the city, it is the OPUS card.

What is the OPUS card and how does it work?

This is a smart card on which you can load all transit fares from Zone A of the public transport system, except for group fares, which are available on tickets only. The OPUS card is used by transit companies throughout the Greater Montreal area. In addition, it allows you to load monthly passes, bus fares, and fares of all AB, ABC, and ABCD modes, but note that fares of all modes AB, ABC, and ABCD in the 1-ride, 2-ride, or 10-ride format are only available on non-reloadable smart cards and designated OPUS cards, specifically to students and those over 65 years of age.

Know that you can buy your OPUS card without photo, which you can carry with regular fare tickets and passes and is valid for 4 years and you can buy the OPUS card with photo, only if you are entitled to pay reduced fare, i.e. if you are a student and/or 65 years or older; This card is personal, automatically registered and non-transferable.

On the other hand, it is recommended that you register your OPUS card with or without a photo, so that you will have the guarantee that it will be replaced if it is lost or stolen. This registration will also allow you to recover your fees, but please note that this guarantee does not apply to OPUS cards that are more than six months past due.

For more information about the OPUS card, visit the official website of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM). An important fact to know is that the Montreal Metro does not accept cash. 

Bus system:


The bus network in Canada is very punctual, efficient and modern, so it is not essential to have a car in Montreal, it is enough to know its schedules, you can even track it in real time. Here are the most important aspects:

The cost per ticket (per person) is $3.50 CAD per trip and the ticket is valid for 2 hours. The OPUS card can also be used for the bus and, if you have it topped up as explained above, you will be able to use all the buses in the city unlimitedly. Please note that the bus does not accept cards and the payment machines do not give change, so we advise you to have the exact money.

You can arrange to travel by bus under three modalities, namely:

  • Real-time: which allows you to know the exact location of the vehicle, so you will have more precise control of the time when the bus will arrive at the stop. This information is provided in minutes and is available 20 minutes before the bus arrives at the stop.
  • Planned times: These are the times when a bus arrives as planned. This is modified 4 times a year. You can plan your trip several days in advance. This information is displayed in hours across all customer tools and schedules.
  • The daily adjusted schedules: These are the schedules that include updates based on daily events and operational issues.

Winter has arrived and you still have to move, what is the most recommendable?

According to the STM and from its own experience, the ideal thing to do is to follow these tips:

  • Plan your route well and find out about alternatives.
  • Check the status of the transit service before your trip.
  • Allow more time for bus service, as buses must also deal with snow, traffic jams, fender bumps, and slippery roads. 
  • Purchase your transit fare in advance.
  • Keep your transit fare close.

More details can be found on the official website of the STM.

Bixi Montreal:

Bikes are welcome! 

This initiative is very common as a means of transport, as it is cheaper and allows you to go anywhere in Montreal, but remember that you should always be careful, although a helmet is not mandatory, it is important to respect traffic rules, give priority to pedestrians and drive more sparingly during the summer season. as buses and bicycles are often found together on the road.

From April 15 of this year 2023, a pilot program will be implemented to allow bicycles to circulate more frequently in the metro. Here's the timeline:

  • From May 20 to August 20 it will be authorized at all times, with the exception of days when there is a special event.
  • As of August 21, 2023, the following will be authorized:

Monday through Friday, from opening until 7:00 a.m. M.

Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Monday to Friday, from 6:00 p.m. to closing.

Weekends and holidays, at all times

The cost of the bike service is $1.50 CAD for every 45 minutes of use. You can also buy the annual or monthly pass which will help you save a lot more money. Please note that payment for this service is made only by credit card as a deposit of $100 CAD is charged and will be delivered to you within 7 days once you return it at any station. 

At all times, cyclists must respect safety rules and give priority to the most vulnerable people, such as children, the elderly, people with reduced mobility, among others. On this last point, Montreal's transport system also has paratransit for people in wheelchairs. 

You can find more information on the STM website.

Communauto Québec:

This is a very convenient, economical and friendly system that consists of providing access to rental vehicles, which are located in stations available throughout the city and once you finish using them you can leave them parked at any appropriate point in the city. Please note that to hire this service you must have a valid and current driver's license, it can even be the one from your country of origin. 

The rental price varies depending on the type of subscription or not. To give you an idea of pricing, know that:

1 minute costs $0.35 CAD.

1 hour costs $3.35 CAD.

24 hours cost $26.80 CAD.

1 week costs 149.75 $ CAD.

More details can be found on the official website of Communauto Québec.

At Immiland, we're glad you've come to this beautiful city to fulfill your Canadian dream, now that you know a little bit about getting around Montreal, you can use public transportation with confidence.

If you would like to learn more about our immigration, recruitment, translation, education and settlement services in Canada, we invite you to visit our website

With love,


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