As of February 7, 2022, fare booths will only accept payment by debit and credit card.
Montréal, December 6, 2021 – The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is continuing to update the payment methods available in métro stations. As of February 7, 2022, fare booths will only accept payment by debit and credit card. Though less frequently used, cash payment will remain an option on buses, at fare vending machines, and at the roughly 350 authorized retailers that sell STM fares. Special measures will be in place, and a communication campaign is planned to help customers through the transition.
The decision was made in response to the changing needs of customers. After the completed deployment of contactless debit and credit payment at fare booths in December 2020, the payment option has become increasingly popular and now represents the majority of fare booth sales.
The move will result in potential repeat savings of over $1 million by optimizing and streamlining several operational processes.
A fact-based decision
The decision was made following an in-depth reflection process. Many customers had already changed their habits when cash payment at fare booths was temporarily suspended due to the pandemic. Before making the change permanent, the STM surveyed customers in fall 2020 to ensure that their needs would still be met and that there would be no negative impact on their experience. The research indicated that:
- Only a minority of customers preferred to pay for fares in cash.
- Only a minority of customers saw a negative impact from the suspension of cash payment as they wanted more flexibility but were not aware that cash payment was still available at other points of sale.
Help and support measures
Customers will still be able to pay cash at métro station fare vending machines, and the majority are already paying by debit or credit. However, the STM understands that certain groups of customers still prefer or require assistance. Station agents and managers will be more present in public areas to help customers with fare purchases. The STM is also in contact and working with the disabled community to implement adaptive mitigation measures.
Among others, the following measures will be implemented:
- Fare vending machines will be modified to allow customers to pay cash for monthly passes.
- The network of 350 authorized retailers—many of which are located near métro stations—will be expanded to include approximately fifty more points of sale throughout 2022.
- The locations of these retailers will be added to the map on the home page of the STM website to make them easier to locate when planning trips.
- An information campaign will be launched to inform customers of the upcoming change, encouraging them to switch to debit or credit payment, if they have not already done so, and to plan in advance when purchasing fares.
- Customers will be able to use a new feature on the Chrono app to check the balance of their OPUS cards, making it easier to plan fare purchases.
By making this decision, the STM is following a global trend already adopted by many North American institutions and transit agencies. The change will also bring métro station payment methods in line with those available at most exo train stations and at future REM stations. The STM is confident that the measures in place and the ample time to prepare will ensure a smooth transition for all affected customers.