McGill Recommendations, Out on the Town, Student Life

Beyond the Bixi in the big city

Although fall may be the perfect weather to head out for a walk, when you’ve barely woken up and are already late for your 8:30 class, it’s good to know all of your commuting options. For such last-minute panics, the Tribune presents various alternatives to help you make it to your lectures on time, and maybe even stop for coffee. 

1. Biking

Incorporating cycling into your morning routine is not only healthy, but also a time-efficient means of getting to school. Biking is also a fun way to start the day—unless your commute is uphill—with cool morning temperatures making it the perfect time to go for a ride. Luckily, you need not be a bike owner to incorporate this exercise into your daily life. 

Bixi, a public bike-rental service, offers monthly and yearly packages for just $18 and $92, respectively. You can rent a bike from one of their many stations and drop it off at a station near your destination, making it quite a convenient way to get to campus and around the city. There are a few stations near campus, with the most popular ones being on the corners of McTavish and Sherbrooke, and University and Milton. Other stations around campus include those on Sherbrooke and Aylmer, Sherbrooke and Hutchison, and University and Prince Arthur. 

In case you don’t want to commit to a longer membership, Bixi also offers one-way passes for a flat fee of $1, and a variable charge depending on the time of day. The regular bike costs 15 cents per minute, while an electric one is 30 cents per minute. With a membership, the regular Bixi costs 10 cents per minute, after 45 free minutes, and 12 cents/minute for an electric bike. With or without a membership, Bixi bikes are one of the cheaper options to get to campus. 

2. Public transport

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) offers a range of flexible train, metro, and bus routes to fit into your commuting schedule. You can order a rechargeable OPUS card for $15, which you can load with tickets and passes. For students, the STM offers a reduced-fare OPUS card that you can order online through Minerva, under the student menu. 

For students, the monthly pass costs $56.50, the weekly one costs $29, and a one-way ticket costs $3.50. There are also other fare deals such as unlimited evenings, unlimited weekends, and 24 hours whose fares are accessible on their website. If you plan on making more than 15 trips a month via metro or bus, the monthly pass is definitely the way to go.  

Buses are one of the most convenient and accessible ways to get to campus. The buses most used by students are the 24 which runs on Sherbrooke and has a stop right in front of the Roddick Gates, and the 144 which has stops near the Tomlinson Fieldhouse, the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building, and the Stewart Biology Building. The metro is also a great option for those who live close to a station. You can get off at the McGill metro station––exiting a couple of streets below Sherbrooke, on boulevard Robert-Bourassa, and walk up to campus. 

3. Communauto

If you live farther away and are in an absolute rush, you can also rent a car from Communauto, a low-cost vehicle-sharing company. Prior to renting, however, you have to sign up for an account and get it verified—a process that usually takes a couple of days. 

While they do offer different memberships, they also have a free plan under which you can pick any of their marked cars off the road (called the FLEX option). This option allows you to drop the car anywhere within their parking zones and costs 40 cents per minute, $12.75 per hour, or $50 per day. With Communauto, you can also reserve a car, which is less costly than their FLEX option. Fuel costs of up to $50 per trip are covered by them, and you can learn more about how their service works here.

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One Comment

  1. Do not make Bixi sound so perfect. Since the Fall semester has started, a large group of students with a Bixi membership have made it to class late due to the insufficiency of Bixi docks. If need to get to class between 10am and 1pm don’t bother taking Bixi. You will have to either find a station a kilometer or two away, bike uphill to where the education and athletics building are, wait several minutes until someone takes a bike out or even abandon your Bixi bike and face overage charges in exchange for getting to class on time. There are a dozen of docks near (within a kilometers radius) of the Redpath building mainly on Maisoneuve and St Catherine. Yet there are 0 docks to return Bixi bikes. At most they send one trailer to free up stations, but it’s pointless. To make things work several docks don’t even work and you need to slam it in hard to get it to lock. To all the other Bixi members who have been facing these issues and/or have been negatively impacted by Bixi, please speak up.

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