When you live in a city, any city, with good public transport, availability of Uber and easy access to rental cars, then you really don’t need to have a car.
Having a car in the city is more of an aggravation than it is worth. The cost of gas, insurance, and maintenance. Looking for parking spaces that never seem to open up. And the worst traffic no matter what time of day. It simply doesn’t make sense to have a car.
I am always promoting simple living and downsizing, so if you went ahead and got rid of your car, then you’ll need this guide to live in Montreal without a car.
Getting Out of the City
Before I talk about getting around, let me highlight how to leave the city. This is when you potentially will feel like you’re missing out by not having a car.
There are car rental companies all over the city. You don’t have to go all the way to the airport to rent a car to go out of town for a few hours or a few days. For example, there are car rentals at the uni, and in other easily accessible areas downtown.
If you just need to get out of the downtown for a few hours where the metro doesn’t go then you can always take an Uber.
There are 196 daytime buses and 23-night routes. You can get pretty much anywhere in the city cheaply by taking the bus around. The bus is cheap and monthly passes are available.
The only downside is that fares are not zoned. It is a flat rate so going short distances costs the same as going all the way across the city. If you plan to use the bus frequently, then I suggest buying a pass so it doesn’t matter how far you travel. You’ll always end up saving money with a pass.
Taking the subway is the fastest way to get around town. And in the winter, you’ll definitely want to be underground!
The trains are clean and efficient. If you have ever taken the underground in any other city then you will understand how to navigate with a map.
There are four lines with stations all over the city. You’ll know them by the distinctive blue and white signs with the distinctive arrow pointing down.
You can buy tickets from a kiosk but they only take cash. Using a machine is quick and takes both cash and card.
There are lots of bike paths all over the city. If you own a bike, it is a quick, easy and sustainable way to get around. Don’t have a bike and live in a small apartment? Try using BIXI Bike. It’s a bike share program with bikes all over the city. Once you have a membership, you unlock a bike and take it out. Then drop it off at the dock nearest your destination.