Technology

My three Opus cards

I live in the very charming municipality of Longueuil, right on the other side of the Jacques-Cartier bridge, exactly 7 km from my work. Like many families in my area, a few years ago we opted for one car. This decision was made for economic and environmental reasons, and also because I don’t really like to drive. This means that I walk a lot, often take a bike and use public transport.

In the pre-pandemic world, I went to the office four or five days a week. So I bought a subscription for a month. In exceptional cases, when I was on vacation and I shouldn’t have bought a travel card, I bought bus tickets from the Réseau de transport de Longueuil, as well as metro tickets from the Société de transport de Montréal. I place them (all) electronically on my Opus card. Nothing fantastic.

Then for two and a half years I mostly worked remotely, greatly reduced my social activity and therefore used public transport very little.

During this time, the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain carried out a fare revision aimed at simplifying public transport ticketing in Greater Montreal. Maybe some noticed the simplification? In any case, definitely not me!

Opus Pocus! Three prices…

Opus Pocus! By magic (which paraphrases a famous cartoon spell) now, for my daily life, I need three different tickets.

All AB ($4.50 or $4.25 with 10 tickets): This is the pass I need to get from Longueuil to Montreal and vice versa. This ticket gives me access to both the bus and metro, which is what I need to get to and from work.

All A modes ($3.50 or $3.15 with 10 tickets): This fare gives you access to the subway or buses, but only in Montreal. This is the name I use when I leave my workplace to go to a meeting downtown, or if I want to go out to dinner with friends after work (yes, it’s finally happening!).

ABC Bus Only ($3.50 or $3.15 with 10 tickets): This pass gives you access to the bus only everywhere in Greater Montreal, Longueuil and the South Bank. For me, it’s the title I need to go from home to a dance class in Saint-Lambert or a doctor’s appointment on the South Bank.

Opus Pocus! And three more cards…

Good ! It took me some time to fully understand the new prices. But where I really fell off my chair was when I realized I would need three different Opus cards from now on.

All Modes AB games can only be installed on a “special” Opus card, which is only sold in a few outlets. At the very least, if you already have an Opus card, you can get a second card for free.

A “regular” Opus card can load all ABC titles in A mode and only on the bus… but not at the same time! More specifically, if I have All Modes A headers on my Opus card, the machine will stubbornly refuse to add Bus only ABC headers. Vice versa. And this is really hard for me to understand.

So I decided to get a third Opus card (for which I was charged this time) to have all the tickets I need in my wallet when I need them.

Jokes aside (because there are worse things in life than carrying around three Opus cards), I can’t help but think this is a really bad way to encourage people to use public transport. The Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain makes it so difficult that… even the employees of the transport companies who are supposed to help us have a hard time understanding the rules!

I also got the impression that the system is designed more for people who get a monthly pass than for those who, like me, use public transport four or five times a week. However, my company is not the only one to go hybrid, and I don’t have the impression that this trend will change in the coming years.

Of course, if I was lazy, I could just buy All Mode A titles that fit all my travels and fit one Opus card. On the other hand, I often paid a dollar too much for a trip. And since public transport is already quite expensive, I don’t really want to pay more than I have to.

In short, this hassle is not so constraining me to go back and buy a car. But I’m afraid that’s enough to discourage many from giving up their…

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