Smart card shenanigans: Date of launch still unclear


According to an article in Le Devoir, the STM’s new fare system was to be launched today. However – although the “not in service” stickers were off the machines at Sherbrooke metro – the STM employee at the station said that it would be April 28 before the machines will be in service and then only from Honore-Beaugrand to Viau metros (no mention of buses). After that, apparently more stations will be added progressively until the rest of the system is online by/for June.

Photo by Cedric Sam


  1. According to the STM, the smart card won’t be rolled out until the fall. In the meantime, they are gradually replacing bus tickets with cards containing a magnetic strip, which will be recognized by the new machines. Perhaps this delay is a QC or pilot step. More info at the STM’s website here:

    Is this card the smart card that has been talked about for some time?

    No. The smart card will be available as of the fall of 2008. The smart card can be charged with various regular and reduced fares, as opposed to the magnetic card, which contains only tickets. Several information tools will be available at the end of summer to familiarize you with this new technology.

  2. Thanks for that link Joey. It’s interesting that the STM has different info available on different parts of its site. I think you are right that the STM may be using the magnetic cards as a test run for the machines before the smart card is released.
    The terminology used to refer to the different cards should be clarified, the “magnetic card” is replacing paper tickets. It cannot be recharged, and is being launched today in the eastern part of the city. Complete information about where to buy, and how to use the card is available at

    The Gazette is reporting the launch of the card today (Monday April 21 A8), however does not mention the geographic staggering of sale points.

    The “smart card” or “carte a puce” is the rechargeable, reusable card. The Gazette is also reporting on the launch of this card
    And the whole situation just gets more fun when people shorten the name to “card” to refer to either one. More on this soon.

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