Archive for November 9th, 2011|Daily archive page

Montreal’s Metro

I think it’s one of the great subway systems in the world, especially in the design of the stations, each of them different, many of them distinguished period pieces.

The system was inaugurated in 1966-67 in time for Expo 67, expanded in the 1970s and 1980s, and expanded again to Laval in 2007. There are now 68 stations in the subway system on four lines, with four transfer stations. It’s a rather expensive fare for single rides, at a prohibitive $3 CDN, but to make up for that, a day pass is $8 CDN, and there’s a new evening fare for $4 CDN. The access points are equipped to handle magnetic cards that you slide through the slot, as well as proximity cards. Overall, it’s painless and easy to use.

Access for the disabled is still an issue, rather few stations have elevators, although this is changing. The platforms are color-coded with the terminal station as the marker showing which direction the train is headed, this requires a bit of familiarity, and the maps are sometimes difficult to find. As with most subway systems in the world, there are no express stops or limited runs, and the system shuts down at night, despite Montreal’s penchant for late weekend partying and dining. The stations are relatively clean, although lacking in garbage bins, so there tends to be plenty of papers and drink cups left throughout the busier downtown stations.

Trains are a standard sky blue in color, apparently not air conditioned, and run quietly on rubber tires. One nifty feature is the Copland chime as the train pulls out of the station, echoing the first notes of Fanfare for the Common Man.

The best part are the artworks and architecture of the stations, so in the next post, coming soon, I’ll present a tour of the best, notable, and the awful stuff.

The official site has an excellent history of the metro system: