At the end of the month, the Montreal Transit Association (STM) will launch a new bus service providing direct transportation from downtown Montreal to Trudeau Airport.
Service on the 747 Express bus starts on March 29. The bus will offer rides to and from the airport 24 hours a day, and will cost $7 each way.
Michel Labrecque, the chairman of the STM Board of Directors, announced the new bus line at a press conference on March 11. Labrecque said that the 747 would offer increased service for Dorval residents, easier transportation for tourists, and a more efficient method of travel between the city and the airport. He predicted that the service would attract some 10,000 riders every day.
“With this new service, we hope to create an awareness about public transit among airport clients and employees so that they make a habit of using it for their transportation needs,” Labrecque said at the press conference.
Marianne Rouette, a spokesperson for the STM, pointed out that airport employees and employers will benefit from the new express service.
“Most employees have to take their car to go to work, so it was done mostly for them,” Rouette said.
“Airport employers are finding it hard to recruit staff because of the difficulty, or high cost of, getting to and from the airport,” she added. “If you don’t have a car, you have to take the regular bus, which takes a long time, and the hours are not very good for [most employees].”
Previously, travellers had only two options: take a taxi to the airport for the flat rate of $38 one-way, or take the Aérobus, a private bus line operated by Groupe La Québécoise, for $16 one-way. According to an employee of the Airports of Montreal who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Aérobus service will be discontinued on March 28.
According to Rouette, however, the Groupe La Québécoise had a contract with the Airports of Montreal that was expiring, and the decision to cancel service was more of a coincidence than in direct response to the 747 Express.
The 747 Express’s $7 fee can be paid in cash on the bus. This ticket also gives riders unlimited access to the bus and subway systems of Montreal for the following 24 hours. Additionally, holders of weekly or monthly Opus cards, as well as one-day and three-day fare cards, can ride the 747 at no extra cost. The monthly one to eight TRAM card, which provides access to Montreal’s commuter rail lines, metro and bus system, can also be used.
The new bus’s route will not be particularly convenient for many McGill students, however. The 747 Express will leave from Montreal’s main bus terminal, located on Berri Street and de Maisonneuve Boulevard, and then travel mainly along René Lévesque Boulevard.
“I think it’s difficult to take the bus from a student’s perspective,” said Braden Touche, U1 economics, who regularly travels to the airport when flying home to Calgary. “I have to get to the bus station, which means that I have to take the metro, but in the winter I cannot do that because I will probably have a big bag.”
Students such as David Midgley, U2 accounting, however, see the service as too cheap to pass up.
“[The subway station] is kind of out of the way,” Midgley said. “But, [given the price], it’s definitely going to appeal to some people, myself included.”
The 747 Express will leave every 20 minutes during rush hour, every 30 minutes during off-peak hours, and every hour between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Service to and from the airport will take between 20 and 50 minutes, depending on traffic.