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Montreal Metro

Related subjects Architecture; Railway transport

Montreal Metro
Locale Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Transit type Rapid transit
Began operation October 14, 1966
System length 65.33 km (40.59 mi)
Number of lines 4
Number of stations 68
Daily ridership 835,000+ (FY 2008)
Operator(s) Société de transport de Montréal

The Montreal Metro is a rubber-tired metro system, and the main form of public transportation within the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Metro, operated by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), was inaugurated on October 14, 1966, during the tenure of Mayor Jean Drapeau. Originally consisting of 26 stations on three separate lines, the Metro now incorporates 68 stations on four lines measuring 65.33 km (40.59 mi) in length, serving the north, east, and centre of the Island of Montreal with a connection to Longueuil, via the Yellow Line, and Laval, via the Orange line. The metro system is currently Canada's second longest and second in total annual passenger usage (in both respects to Toronto's subway system), serving 289.1 million riders a year (transfers not included); according to the STM website, the metro system has transported over 6 billion passengers as of 2006, roughly equivalent to the world's population. The Montreal Metro was inspired by the Paris Metro and in turn is also the inspiration for the Lyon (France) Metro, constructed a few years later, which shares the same rubber-wheel car design and Montreal Metro station architecture.


1966 Montreal Metro onboard network map.
1966 Montreal Metro onboard network map.
1976 Montreal Metro map, with planned extensions to Lines 2-Orange and 5-Blue
1976 Montreal Metro map, with planned extensions to Lines 2-Orange and 5-Blue
Current map of the metro.
Current map of the metro.

Construction began in May 1962 and was engaged before Montreal was chosen as host of the 1967 World's Fair (Expo 67), held in the summer of 1967. Regardless of the fair, the city badly needed a mass transportation system, projects dating back to 1910. The main lines ( Green (Line 1), Atwater to Frontenac; and Orange (Line 2), Bonaventure to Henri-Bourassa) were opened gradually starting in October 1966, with the Yellow line (Line 4) ( Berri-de-Montigny to Longueuil, on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River) not opened until April 1967.

A Line 3 was originally intended as a surface metro running in part through the existing railway tracks running under Mount Royal to Cartierville. But then, as negotiations with the Canadian National Railway (CN Rail) for the use of their tracks and tunnel were stalled, Montreal was chosen as host of the Expo 67. Plans and budgets were therefore redirected for the design and construction of a replacement line, Line 4, constructed especially for Expo 67, in place of the never built Line 3, whose tracks are now used for the Deux-Montagnes commuter train. The Montreal Metro nonetheless continues to be numbered as if this proposed line had been constructed as Line 3 of the Metro.

With the awarding of the 1976 Summer Olympics to Montreal, construction began in October 1971 for the extension of Line 1 from Frontenac to Honoré-Beaugrand to service the main Olympic site; the new stations were opened in June 1976.

Later, Line 1 was extended from Atwater to Angrignon (September 1978), while Line 2 was extended from Bonaventure to Place-Saint-Henri (April 1980), Snowdon (September 1981), Côte-Sainte-Catherine and Plamondon (January and June 1982), and Du Collège (January 1984).

Two years later, a new line ( Blue (Line 5)) was built from De Castelnau to Saint-Michel (June 1986), with transfers to Line 2 at Jean-Talon, and Line 2 was extended further to Côte-Vertu (November 1986). Line 5 was then extended to Parc (June 1987), Acadie (March 1988), and the existing Snowdon station on Line 2 (January 1988). To this date, the Montreal Metro is Canada's second largest subway system.

The lines, however, were not planned to end where they eventually did in 1990. Line 2 was originally meant to have two or three more stations beyond Côte-Vertu; however, priority funding was given to Line 5. The plans for Deguire/Poirier, Bois-Franc, and Salaberry stations were scrubbed. Line 5 itself was shortened due to funding issues. It was originally been projected to have stops west of Snowdon (Côte Saint-Luc, Cavendish, Montréal-Ouest, Lafleur) and east of Saint-Michel (Pie-IX, Viau, Lacordaire, Langelier, Galeries d’Anjou).

An entire metro line in initial planning was also scrubbed, the so-called Line 7/Pie IX - Saint-Leonard/White Line, also due to the same funding issues. Proposed for the first time by the Bureau des Transports de Montréal (BTM) in September 1983, the original project for a new north-south line (Line 7, the number 6 being reserved for another surface metro line proposed by the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ)) would have had 10 stations (from Pie-IX to Léger), which then got formally proposed by the Communauté urbaine de Montréal (CUM) at the start of 1984, this time having 12 stations (from Pie-IX to Maurice-Duplessis/Langelier).

While a number of proposals for further expansion had been studied over the years, it all came to a stop around 1990, when the Quebec provincial government placed a moratorium on further metro construction. Then, in 2002, construction began on a 3-station extension of Line 2 from Henri-Bourassa under the Rivière des Prairies to Montmorency on the island of Laval (northwest of the island of Montreal). This extension was completed and the three new stations were opened on April 28, 2007. Ridership increased by 50,000 a day to 835,000 with the new stations.


*Henri-Bourassa station
*Henri-Bourassa station

The four Montreal Metro lines are identified by colour, by number, or by terminus station. The terminus station in the direction of travel is used to differentiate between directions of travel. The busiest line is the Orange Line, while the quietest is the Blue Line. The Yellow Line is the shortest line, with three stations, built for Expo 67. On April 28, 2007, three new stations were opened in Laval along the Orange Line. Metro lines that leave the Island of Montreal are the Orange Line, which continues to Laval, and the Yellow Line, which continues to Longueuil.

Line # Colour Termini Date First Built Date Last Changed Length Stations
1 Green Angrignon ↔ Honoré-Beaugrand 1966 1978 22.1 km 27
2 Orange Côte-Vertu ↔ Henri-Bourassa* or Montmorency* 1966 2007 30.0 km 31
4 Yellow Berri-UQAM ↔ Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke 1967 1967 4.25 km 3
5 Blue Snowdon ↔ Saint-Michel 1986 1988 9.7 km 12


The Montreal Metro's 759-car fleet runs entirely underground and uses exclusively rubber tires instead of steel wheels. As noted in the STM official document, The Montreal Métro, a source of pride, the Metro runs entirely underground because, at the time of its initial planning in the early 1960s, rubber-tired metro technology was unable to operate in heavy winter conditions.

Conception of the first generation of rolling-stock in Montreal went beyond just adopting the MP 59 metro car from Paris.

North American cities building modern subway systems ( Washington D.C., San Francisco, Atlanta, Montreal) in the 1960s and 1970s were in search of modern rolling-stock that not only best fit their needs, but also encompassing a change in industrial design that focused on the aesthetics and performance of public transit vehicles.

Train floor levels are near flush with the station platforms, but unlike the Washington D.C. Metro, Montreal's Metro system is not wheelchair-accessible. All but three stations are without elevators. This has become a sore point for accessibility advocates in Montreal. The three stations in Laval are provided with elevators, and a retrofitting program is planned to begin adding elevators to stations on the Island of Montreal starting in 2008 and continuing over at least 25 years. Accordingly, the remodeling of the seating arrangement in the MR-73 cars has added a space for wheelchairs. Finally, lack of subway accessibility is somewhat mitigated by the STM's adapted transit system and the use of accessible low-floor buses on major lines.

Unlike most other major cities' subway systems, Montreal's subway cars lack air conditioning, which can make trips uncomfortable for passengers. Passengers cannot move between cars once on board with the current train stock, which can be an inconvenience if the car becomes overcrowded or when looking for a seat. Also contrasting with other cities are the very narrow width design of cars, which combined with the "T"-shaped placement of seats at the back, middle and front sections of cars, makes for a tight squeeze, especially during peak usage hours. In response to overcrowding on the orange line, a redesign of the MR-73 cars removed some seats to make for more standing room.


Rubber tires of the Montreal Metro
Rubber tires of the Montreal Metro

Montreal's metro trains are made of LAHT (low-alloy high-tensile) steel, painted blue with a thick white stripe running its length. Trains are assembled in 3, 6 or 9-car lengths. Each three-car segment element consists of two motor cab cars encompassing a trailer car. Each car is 2.5 metres wide and has four wide bi-parting leaf doors on each side for rapid passenger entry and egress. The small cross section of the cars allows easier tunnel construction under existing underground utilities. The total capacity of each car is 160 passengers, 39 to 40 of which are seated. Design specifications called for station dwell times of typically 8 to 15 seconds.

Each car has two sets of bogies (trucks), each with four sets of support tires, guide tires and backup conventional steel wheels. The motor cars each have four direct-current traction motors coupled to reduction gears and differentials. Montreal's metro trains use electromagnetic brakes, which create retarding forces against the side rails of the track. The electromagnetic brakes are generated by the train's kinetic energy until it has slowed down to about 10km/h. The train then uses composite brake pads made of yellow birch injected with peanut oil to bring it to a complete stop. Two sets are applied against the treads of the steel wheels for friction braking. Hard braking produces a characteristic burnt popcorn scent. Wooden brake shoes perform well, but if subjected to numerous high-speed applications they develop a carbon film that diminishes brake performance.

View of a track from a sandpile bumper-post showing the cross-section of guide ways, concrete rollways and conventional track
View of a track from a sandpile bumper-post showing the cross-section of guide ways, concrete rollways and conventional track

Rubber tires make the Metro exceptionally quiet, transmit minimal vibration, and help the cars climb uphill more easily and negotiate turns at high speeds. However, the advantages of rubber tires are offset by noise levels generated by traction motors, which are noisier than the typical North American subway car. Trains can climb slopes of up to 6.5% and economize the most energy when following a humped-station profile (track profiles that descend to accelerate after leaving a station and climb before entering the station). Steel-wheel train technology has undergone significant advances and can better round tight curves, and climb and descend similar grades and slopes. Despite these advances, steel-wheel trains still cannot operate at high speeds (45 mph) on the same steep or tightly curved track profiles as a train equipped with rubber tires.

Train operation

Switches use conventional points on the standard gauge track to guide trains. Rubber tires keep supporting the full weight of the trains as they go through switches. Guideways are provided in order to ensure there are no gaps in the electrical power supply.
Switches use conventional points on the standard gauge track to guide trains. Rubber tires keep supporting the full weight of the trains as they go through switches. Guideways are provided in order to ensure there are no gaps in the electrical power supply.

All lines but the Yellow Line are equipped with automatic train control. Generally, the train operator supervises the opening and closing of doors, while the train drives itself. The train operator can also drive the train manually at his or her discretion. Signalling is effected through coded pulses sent through the rails. Coded speed orders and station stop positions transmitted through track beacons are captured by beacon readers mounted under the driver cabs. The information sent to the train's electronic modules conveys speed information, and it is up to the train automatic control system computer to conform to the imposed speed. Additionally, the train computer can receive energy-saving instructions from track beacons, providing the train with 4 different economical coasting modes, plus one mode for maximum performance. In case of manual control, track speed is displayed on the cab speedometer indicating the maximum permissible speed. The wayside signals consist of point (switch/turnout) position indicators in proximity to switches and inter-station signalling placed at each station stop. Trains often reach their maximum speed of 44-45 mph (70-72 km/h) in 16 to 26 seconds depending on grade and load.

Trains are programmed to stop at certain station positions with a precise odometer (accurate to plus or minus 5 centimetres). They receive their braking program and station stop positions orders (one-third, two-thirds, or end of station) from track beacons prior to entering the station, with additional beacons in the station for ensuring stop precision. The last beacon is positioned at precisely 12 turns of wheels from the end of the platform, which help improve the overall precision of the system.

Trains draw current from two sets of 750-volt direct current guide bar/ third rails on either side of each motor car. Nine-car trains draw large currents of up to 6,000 amperes, requiring that both models of rolling-stock have calibrated traction motor control systems to prevent power surges, arcing and breaker tripping. Both models have electrical braking (using motors) to assist primary friction braking, reducing the need to replace the brake pads.

Two models of train are used on the Metro:

  • Canadian Vickers MR-63 (delivered for the metro's opening in 1966)

The Canadian Vickers-built MR-63 is used on the Green line and the Bombardier-built MR-73 is used on the other three lines. Motor cars weigh about 27 metric tonnes, trailer cars weigh 20 metric tonnes. A three-car set (one element) weighs a total of 74 metric tonnes.

The MR-63 is identified with grey interiors, four ventilation hoods protruding over the roof of each car, two 154 hp 360-V series traction motors that make a whining noise and have round cab headlights. Montreal's rolling stock is among the oldest still in use on any metro system in the world. A $1.2 billion contract is under negotiation with Bombardier to replace the MR-63 fleet.

Maintenance of Montreal's subway cars is rigorous, as reliability levels (Mean Distance Between Failures/MDBF ratings) are more than double that of typical North American subway cars.

The MR-63 is the first generation of high-performance subway cars, a mixture of technology dating back to the mid-1960s and modern train technology. The MR-63 model has undergone numerous technological and reliability upgrades. Major upgrades include on-board computer modules for automatic train control in 1976 with subsequent revisions of hardware and software, solid-state door interlocks in 2003, modern ergonomic driver cabs with new digital dashboards and automatic station annunciators in 2005. Most notably, all the MR-63 carshells emerged factory-fresh with new interiors and a new paint scheme after being fully refurbished at the GEC Alstom Pointe St. Charles workshops in 1993. As a result, the MR-63 fleet appears relatively new, gleaming and modern despite being 40 years old (as of 2006).

The MR-63 fleet remains exceptionally reliable (MDBF of 125,000 miles/200,000 km in 2004) by North American standards. However, they suffer elevated levels of vandalism, they retain many obsolete components, parts availability is diminishing, and ride quality has deteriorated over the years as their suspension systems and rubber spring packs harden with old age. Poor ride quality has not been attributed to the tires or tracks.

The MR-63 model uses a series-to-parallel servo camshaft rheostat to control and regulate power to its traction motors; this control system can be heard tapping under the floor of a motor car as the train undergoes rapid acceleration at an initial rate of 3.0 mph per second (1.33 m/s²). This control system also features a dynamic rheostatic braking mode that uses the motors to slow the train, turning the motors into generators and dissipating the resulting energy as heat in the rheostat grid.

The 2006 STM action and investment plans indicate that the MR-63 fleet will remain in service up until 2014, with their projected replacement by 2012.

  • Bombardier Transportation MR-73 (delivered in 1976)

The MR-73 is the second generation of high-performance metro cars, identified by rectangular cab headlights, orange interiors (which are gradually being replaced with blue and dark orange interiors, as part of the mid-life refurbishment), traction motors (rated at 176 hp max., 168 hp continuous) that growl while accelerating out of a station, have side vents and a unique three-note sound signature when the train pulls out of a station. The initial rate of acceleration of the MR-73 model is 3.2 mph per second (1.43 m/s²), which is exceptionally high for any subway equipment. The three-note sound is produced by traction motor control equipment called a "current chopper", which is used to control and power the motors on the train in stages without incurring a power surge. It does this by modulating the current in 5 consecutive stages (90, 120, 180, 240 and 360 Hz), the latter 3 being normally audible. A prototype for the current chopper has been built by the Canron company using a Jeumont original design in the early Seventies on an MR-63 train. One element of this "Jeumont Train" is currently operated on the Line 1 Green among rheostatic-started MR-63s. It is the only one to exhibit the whole five-note audible signature in normal operation, even though it is possible to hear them during longer than usual starts on regular MR-73s.

These notes are the same as the first three notes of Aaron Copland's " Fanfare for the Common Man", one of the musical themes for Expo '67, though this is apparently just a coincidence. Some MR-73s originally sported murals of Montreal at the end of the cars, although these were damaged by vandalism and removed long ago.

The MR-73 has a different electrical braking system than the MR-63 to assist friction braking. The MR-73's current chopper recuperates energy when in braking mode, turning traction motors into generators and sending a regulated current back into the traction power supply for other trains to use. Electrical braking is most effective when one train draws power while starting while another train at a different location sends power while braking.

The Mean Distance Between Failures (MDBF) for the MR-73 exceeds 200,000 miles (320,000 km) in 2004. As of December 2005, the MR-73 fleet is undergoing $40 million in renovations to reconfigure interior seating to increase total car capacity, and install new poles and new panels with a new ergonomic colour scheme that discourages vandalism, decreases motion-sickness and promotes aesthetic harmony. The renovations also include an ergonomic full-spectrum lighting system that provides therapeutic anti-depression effects for its passengers. Like the older MR-63 metro fleet, the MR-73 driver cabs will be modernized and equipped with ergonomic features and digital dashboards.


Rolling stock maintenance is effected in three facilities, in two locations.

Plateau d’Youville

The Plateau d’Youville, located in the north end of the city is located at the intersection of Boulevards Crémazie and Saint-Laurent.

It provides heavy maintenance of buses, subway cars, light maintenance of MR-73 subway cars and is the main base for the track maintenance workshops (where track sections are pre-assembled prior to installation).

Garage Beaugrand

An older generation MR-63 train is in the Beaugrand Garage. Note the turntable to change trucks in the foreground.
An older generation MR-63 train is in the Beaugrand Garage. Note the turntable to change trucks in the foreground.

The Garage Beaugrand is located east of line 1 terminus Honoré-Beaugrand. It is entirely underground.

It provides light maintenance on MR-63 subway cars.

Centre d'attachement Duvernay

Duvernay is a garage and base for maintenance of way equipment. It accesses the network through the line 1/line 2 interchange southeast of Lionel-Groulx. The access building is located at the corner of Duvernay and Vinet streets in Sainte-Cunégonde.

Centre d’attachement Viau

Viau is a garage and base for maintenance of way equipment. It accesses the network immediately west of the Viau station (line 1). The access building is within the Viau station building; in fact, facilities are visible from trains going west of the station.


Heavy work trains are hauled with sizeable tractors such as this old (1966) “Duplex”. Traction is effected through the rubber-tired wheels, and guidance through the retractable flanged wheel. This tractor can also operate on the road.
Heavy work trains are hauled with sizeable tractors such as this old (1966) “Duplex”. Traction is effected through the rubber-tired wheels, and guidance through the retractable flanged wheel. This tractor can also operate on the road.

The interchange track between lines 2 and 5 south/west of Snowdon station is used for the storage of maintenance of way equipment. There are no surface facilities.

The tail tracks west of Snowdon station extend about 790 metres west of the station, reaching the border of the city of Hampstead. The end of the track is marked by an emergency exit on Queen Mary Road.


Idle trains are stored in four garages: Angrignon (west of Angrignon line 1 terminus), Beaugrand (east of Honoré-Beaugrand line 1 terminus, Saint-Charles (north of Henri-Bourassa terminus) and Montmorency. The latter has been built perpendicular to its station to allow an easier hypothetic expansion of the Line 2 deeper in Laval territory.

Next generation of trains

In May 2006, the Quebec Government announced the negotiation of a $1.2 billion contract to replace the MR-63 metro fleet of 336 cars. Alstom voiced its dismay over directly awarding the contract (to Bombardier) without a bidding process. Negotiations between the STM and Bombardier were to be ongoing until 2007. The negotiations focused on the project's cost controls, terms of contract, train specifications and warranty. If negotiations had failed, the Quebec government and the STM would have reverted to a bidding process.

On Thursday, January 10, 2008, Québec Superior Court Judge Joel Silcoff rendered his decision regarding Alstom's filing of legal action against the Québec government's ministry of transportation. The latter sought to by-pass the bidding process, citing that Bombardier was the only domestic candidate capable of fulfilling the eventual contract. Silcoff ruled in favour of Alstom, enabling the company to bid on the contract. It is unknown at the present time (March 2008) whether or not the Montreal Transit Corporation will appeal the decision, revert to the bidding process or venture to do both at the same time. Regardless, this decision will delay the arrival of the new rolling stock, previously slated for 2010-2012, by about a year or two. The MR-63-type cars have been in use since 1966.

Production at Bombardier's La Pocatière plant will be winding down as the building of M-7 electric multiple-unit commuter railcars for New York's Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and Metro-North (MNR) of the Metropolitan Transit Authority nears completion. Production may ramp up again to produce Montreal's Metro cars starting in 2009. The STM indicates that the first train sets will start rolling between 2010 and 2012.

As of February 6th, 2008, the Government of Québec has decided to begin the bidding process, which would serve to save time, delaying delivery of the first trains by 9 to 12 months.

The media in Montreal (particularly La Presse newspaper) suggest that the new cars will feature full-width walkways between the cars which can be occupied by passengers, resulting in higher train capacities. They also suggest that the new rubber-tire trains will have to meet very demanding performance requirements: higher speeds (up to 80 km/h), powerful accelerations, high-speed gradeability, high-performance brakes, good ride comfort, low-noise, low-maintenance costs, low-energy costs and high levels of reliability. Improving on the performance levels of the current metro fleet and developing new rolling-stock capable of using sheer speed as a means of increasing line capacity will represent a major challenge to either Bombardier or Alstom.


Stained glass by Mario Merola (with graffiti) in the entrance to Charlevoix metro station in Montréal.
Stained glass by Mario Merola (with graffiti) in the entrance to Charlevoix metro station in Montréal.
One of the entrances to the Square-Victoria metro station looks like a Paris Métro station. This original Hector Guimard gate was a gift from the city of Paris.
One of the entrances to the Square-Victoria metro station looks like a Paris Métro station. This original Hector Guimard gate was a gift from the city of Paris.

The design of the Metro was heavily influenced by Montreal's winter conditions. Unlike other cities' metros, nearly all station entrances in Montreal are completely enclosed: usually in small, separate buildings with swivelling doors meant to mitigate the wind caused by train movements that can make doors difficult to open.

All separate entrances are set back from the sidewalk; as well several stations in downtown Montreal are directly connected to buildings, and thus have several entrances inside pre-existing buildings as well as street-level entrances, making the Metro an integral part of Montreal's famous underground city despite its lack of elevators. Several metro entrances are also located within building façades. Only three stations have open entrances such as are prevalent in other cities.

Montreal's metro is renowned for its architecture and public art. Under the direction of Drapeau, a competition among Canadian architects was held to decide the design of each station, ensuring that every station was built in a different style by a different architect. Several stations, such as Berri-UQAM are important examples of modernist architecture, and various system-wide design choices were informed by the International Style.

Along with the Stockholm Metro, Montreal pioneered the installation of public art in the metro among capitalist countries, a practise that beforehand was mostly found in Socialist and Communist nations (the Moscow Metro being a case in point). More than fifty stations are decorated with over one hundred works of public art, such as sculpture, stained glass, and murals by noted Quebec artists, including members of the famous art movement, the Automatistes.

Some of the most important works in the Metro include the stained-glass window at Champ-de-Mars station, the masterpiece of major Quebec artist Marcelle Ferron; and the Guimard entrance at Square Victoria station, like the famous metro entrances designed for the Paris Métro, on permanent loan since 1966 by the RATP to commemorate its cooperation in constructing the metro. Installed in 1967 (the 100th anniversary of Guimard's birth) this is the only authentic Guimard entrance in use outside Paris, although reproductions using original molds were given to Mexico City ( Metro Bellas Artes on line 8), Chicago ( Van Buren Station on the Metra network), Lisbon ( Picoas station on the yellow line) and Moscow ( Kievskaya station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya).


A train at Berri-UQAM during rush hour
A train at Berri-UQAM during rush hour

Metro service starts at 05:30 and stops at 01:00 on weekdays and Sunday, and 01:30 on Saturday in order to accommodate people coming home later. However, the Blue Line stops service earlier, at 00:15 due to low traffic volume. During rush hour, there are three to five minutes between trains on the Orange and Green Lines. That interval however goes up to 12 minutes at night.

The Société de transport de Montréal operates both the Metro and the bus services in Montreal, thus there is free transfer possible between bus and Metro. Fare payment is via a barrier system, including magnetic tickets and passes, punched-card bus transfers, and non-magnetized reduced fare tickets.

Fares are partially integrated with the Agence métropolitaine de transport's commuter rail system, which links the Metro to the outer suburbs via five interchange stations.

Future projects

On April 21, 2008, the Montreal Transit Corporation unveiled the contactless smart card called OPUS as a means of fare payment. In preparation for this new step in Montreal's public transportation network, turnstiles which incorporate the reader and automated vending machines had already been installed in metro stations; buses had previously been fitted with new fareboxes that incorporate the card reader, in order to ensure the uniformity of methods of payment across Montréal's transit network and that of its suburbs.

One advantage to the smart card compared to the current system is the seamless integration with other transit networks of neighbouring cities, eliminating the need to carry small change or purchase different tickets. The same can be said of the commuter train service run by the Agence métropolitaine de transport that require the purchasing of a ticket different from those offered by the Montreal Transit Corporation. Another advantage relates to the speed at which users can access the system. As opposed to the magnetic stripe cards previously in use, which will continue to be sold alongside the new OPUS card until 2009, the contactless smart card is more user-friendly in that it does not require patrons to slide the card in a particular way—proximity to the contactless reader will suffice.

Costs to the STM related to the project are approximately $138 million, compared to the original estimated cost of some $100 million. The project was originally supposed to be implemented in 2006.

As of 2007, other formal and informal extension proposals are currently being considered, although none of which are currently in the works.

City of Montreal:

On June 11, 2008 the city of Montreal released its overall transportation plan for the immediate future. In addition to service improvements in bus and rail, the following projects were given priority status in the overall transportation scheme:

  • Line 5 will be extended in two phases: from Saint-Michel up to Pie-IX Boulevard. The second phase will extend past Pie-IX to the boroughs of St-Leonard and Anjou, committing to the line's original design.
  • Line 2 will also be extended northwest from Côte-Vertu station, up to Bois-Franc commuter rail station in Saint-Laurent. The extension will probably include two stations: Poirier and Bois-Franc (an intermodal station with the Deux-Montagnes commuter line).

Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT):

  • The AMT has considered an extension of Line 4 with four new stations beyond Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke, under the city of Longueuil to College Édouard-Montpetit.
  • Another extension of this line, but from the other terminal, Berri-UQAM, is being studied for the long term that would go to McGill station to ease congestion on that part of the line.
  • In 2006, the AMT has studied the possibility and cost of an extension from Lionel-Groulx to Brossard city on the south shore of Montreal as an alternative to the proposed light rail project in the Champlain bridge corridor.

City of Laval:

  • On July 22, 2007, the mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt, with the ridership success of the current Laval extension, announced his wish to loop the Orange line from Montmorency to Côte-Vertu stations with the addition of six (or seven) new stations (three in Laval and another three in Montreal). He proposed that Transports Quebec, the provincial transport department, set aside $100 million annually to fund the project, which is expected to cost upwards of $1.5 billion.

West Island cities' papers:

  • Montreal's West Island papers have discussed in 2006 and 2007 plans to extend Line 5 from Snowdon into the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce area of Montreal, as depicted in its original design. A further extension to Dorval was discussed to improve the connection between downtown Montreal and Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

Lasalle district papers:

  • Lasalle district papers have discussed in 2007 extending line 1 west of Angrignon station.

Pioneer in Tunnel Advertising

In the early years of the Montreal Metro's life, a unique mode of advertising was used. In some downtown tunnels, cartoons depicting an advertiser's product were inscribed on the walls of the tunnel at the level of the cars' windows. A retail film processing outfit called Direct Film advertised on the North wall in the Atwater-to-Guy (now Guy-Concordia) tunnel (Green Line) during 1967-1969. Strobe lights, aimed at the frames of the cartoon and triggered by the passing train, sequentially illuminated the images so that they appeared to the viewer (passenger) on the train as a movie. Today known as "tunnel movies" or "tunnel advertising," they have been installed in many cities' subways around the world in recent years, for example in the Southgate tube station in London, the MBTA Red Line in Boston, and the DC Metro.

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