Skip the car and take the Metro

Travel Tips, What's New — By shelaghmcnally on August 4, 2011 at 4:44 am

This summer Montreal has some new traffic signs. Cartoon by Yvon Roy

Driving in Montreal is often compared to a competitive sport. As a visitor to the city, do yourself a favour and take public transportation.

This week local drivers are having a hard time keeping their eyes on the road. You can’t blame them for looking up after a piece of the Ville Marie overpass came tumbling down last Sunday. Fortunately the 49-foot chunk of concrete didn’t land on anyone but it was the final straw for many drivers. Between crumbling bridges, massive potholes and frequent detours due to road repairs, driving in Montreal has become one large pain in le derrière

Skip the car rental and use Montreal’s excellent public transit system. The STM (Société des transports de Montréal) operates the Metro subway system, 185 daytime bus routes and 20 night routes. Maps and information about the transit system are available in every Metro station and at tourist information points. Bring for the 99 cent STM app for iPhone and iPod Touch giving up updated information and basic Metro info.

There is also the terrific Bixi rental system for bikes. Based on a similar system in Paris and the first one in North America, Bixi lets you rent a bike in one location and drop it off at another. You’ll zoom by all the gridlocked cars with this system.

If you are still keen on renting a car best get familiar with some of the driving regulations:

  • No right turns on red
  • There are no DO NOT ENTER signs.
  • Traffic lights are on the side of the road
  • Left turn signal lights are sometimes just a flashing green light
  • There can be up to four different parking signs so read them all before parking, otherwise you may be in for a nasty surprise of being towed or getting a ticket.

Montreal is famous for its potholes, so check out the CAA’s Quebec’s Road Problem Watch where people can report potholes and other problem areas. You can also call Transport Quebec at 511 (1-888-355-0511) for updates on road closures or work being completed. The website even has real time highway webcams as well as maps and lists of the work zones.

Tags: avoiding driving headaches, Biki bikes, driving in Montreal, Metro Montreal, Montreal potholes

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