Monday, April 13, 2009

My OPUS Expectations (as of July 1, 2009)

With the OPUS card expected to come out of BETA testing on June 30th, here is my wish list are my expectations as of July 1, 2009.

  • Automatic loading for single and multiple tickets as well as weekly and monthly passes
This is something that Montrealers take for granted. Even one month after the first CITs started accepting OPUS (there are 6 using it now) you still can't load tickets or passes from these transit authorities at their respective Billetterie Metropolitaine. Last month, I emailed one CIT and received this response (removed identifiable information):

Pour l'instant, il est vrai que les titres du CIT ne sont pas en vente sur la carte à puce a la Billetterie Metropolitaine. Éventuellement, par contre, ils le seront lorsque le système sera entièrement uniformisé avec l'AMT.

For now, it's true that CIT tickets and passes aren't available from the machines at the Billetterie Metropolitaine. Eventually they will be when the system is merged (uniformed) with the AMT.

I can only expect that this day will be June 30th. The date the STM has mentioned is the day OPUS goes into full swing (it's also the day OPUS cards jump from $3.50 to $7.00).

  • ALL transit authorities need to be accessible from the same machine.
This means that STM, STL and CIT Presqu'Ile tickets are accessible from the same machine at Cote-Vertu metro station. This also means that local bus fares (tickets and passes) should be available from their respective train stations. This would be an added benefit for the local buses because in most cases, train stations are nowhere near metro stations and metropolitain terminuses.

  • Have an "add to cart" option available with a single checkout.
Have the ability to add various fares and passes to your OPUS card and then "checkout" and charge the whole transaction to one credit/debit card. For many this means lower banking fees.

  • Keep the introductory rate ($3.50) for the OPUS card until December 31, 2009.
Many people are just now being introduced to OPUS. Some may have to wait until June 1st or later. It's not fair for them to purchase their first OPUS card at the full price of $7.00 when everyone else has been purchasing them at $3.50.

  • Progressive commuter train fares and topup system
Right now if someone wants to travel from Deux-Montagnes to Sainte-Dorothee by train, they have to pay for an entire ticket to downtown ($7.00 for 6 minutes of travel). Same goes for someone with a TRAM 3 monthly pass who wants to venture up to Deux-Montagnes once. A revised system would allow that same user to pay only $2.00 ($1.00 for the first zone and $0.50 for each additional zone). The same policy can be extended to any tran trip inwhich zone 1 isn't used. Now that OPUS is here there's no excuse for a reviewed fare structure.

The $1 first zone / $0.50 additional zone isn't rocket science or new. It's already used on Metra Rail in Chicago