History Through Our Eyes: April 2, 1980, monthly transit passes
Strange as it seems, monthly passes for the transit system did not always exist in Montreal. When they were introduced in 1980, they were instantly popular.
This photo by John Mahoney, published in the Montreal Gazette on April 2, 1980, shows Joseph Thibodeau explaining the new pass to Mathilda Routhier at Atwater métro station. The passes had gone into use the previous day, the first of the month.
If there was anyone unhappy with the new system, our reporter did not find them. Everyone quoted in our story considered the passes a big improvement over tickets.
“They save money, they’re easy to use, and they’re faster. They breeze right through here, without having to wait to feed a ticket or transfer through the turnstile,” Denis Bilodeau, an employee of the Montreal Urban Community Transport Commission at Bonaventure métro station, told us.
At $16 for adults and $7 for students and seniors, the price was the equivalent of about 35 tickets, meaning that for regular commuters and other frequent users of the city’s bus and métro system, the passes were a deal. And each one came with a nifty plastic wallet to protect it.
One benefit was that they eliminated the need for transfers that would get crumpled in people’s pockets. Another was that there was no need to worry about running out of tickets in the middle of the month, although these remained as an option.
An official of the MUCTC reported that the transit commission was selling thousands more of the passes than had been hoped. Indeed, transit passes have caught on, though these days, they — as well as individual trips, the equivalent of tickets — are loaded onto Opus cards.