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[News] Montrealers 65 and up can ride public transit for free starting in July

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Montreal residents 65 and up will soon be getting a huge discount on public transportation fares — it'll be free starting in July.

"Seniors have helped build Montreal. Their contribution is still immense today," said Mayor Valérie Plante on Twitter Wednesday.

"With free public transit, seniors can continue to participate fully in life in society and they have more money in their pockets. A great way to combat inflation!"

The free service covers all of Zone A, which is the entire agglomeration. This means those 65 and up can ride buses, paratransit, commuter trains and the Metro on the island with a photo OPUS card that is good for up to two years (depending on the card's expiration date).

The free service includes the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Exo trains and the soon-to-open Réseau express métropolitain (REM).

The new fare, which will become valid on July 1, is aimed at encouraging those 65 and up to not move out of the city, said Plante in a news release. It will also help break their isolation and make it easier for them to get around while improving their quality of life and their transportation, she said.

Mohamed Hazgui is among those looking forward to the free service as he rides the Metro every day.

"I pay, I think, $25 dollars a month," he said.

And according to the STM, Hazgui is one of 150,000 residents 65 and up who are already taking advantage of the reduced fare.

STM board chair Éric Alan Caldwell said that accounts for seven per cent of all trips.


"Elders have mobility needs and they rely on the STM to get around," he said.

Caldwell said the new measure could also boost customer traffic without necessarily increasing the load during peak periods. 

"Seniors play a vital role in not only their neighbourhood life but throughout the city," he said in a statement. "We must meet their mobility needs, allowing them to take full part in all that the city has to offer."

This new measure will cost $40 million per year at a time when the STM is reporting a $43 million shortfall partly due to pandemic-related ridership loss.

But not everybody is satisfied with the plan. 

Jean-Michel Laliberté speaks for the Association pour le transport collectif de la Rive-Sud, a public transit advocacy group on Montreal's South Shore.

In a statement released by the STM, it says a photo OPUS card will be required as it constitutes proof that the user is eligible for the reduced fare.

Once loaded onto a photo OPUS card, the new fare will allow the cardholder to validate their own transit fare on different types of fare-validation equipment, no matter what mode of transportation they are using for their trip, the STM says.

Customers will still need to have a valid "free 65+ fare" loaded and present their card during inspections, says the STM, noting a communications campaign will be launched to promote the new service and help customers understand how the free fare works.

"If we add a reduction for some target population, let's do it based on the income of the person," he said.

View full release
  • Date

    Jul 10, 2023

  • By



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