Saturday, 19 June 2010

Plan du metro de Montreal

Ok, everyone, so to update you...I left the countryside on Sunday and I am now staying with a friend of a friends in the prestigious Plateau Mont-Royal area in a lovely flat at the foot of the ‘mountain’ (that being a very large hill on the top of the Parc Mont-Royal) I have done an enormous amount of sightseeing and seen Old Montreal and the Old Port, been to the Science Museum and the Museum of the History of Montreal and been on a boat tour in the St Laurence river and seen the Olympic Park and been up the Tower plus also had long walks in the Botanical Gardens and in the Mont-Royal park which also doing a bit of window shopping and catching a film on St Catherine’s street. I have also enjoyed 2 nights out, one for my host’s girlfriend’s birthday and once to go to Les FrancoFolies which is a French music festival.

The title of this blog is ‘plan du metro du Montreal’ because I would like to share with you the differences between Montreal’s metro system and London’s underground. First of all as you will see its far less extensive, with fewer stops, fewer lines and fewer interchanges than our underground system. And the lines only have colours, not names. But the differences that bring me most entertainment/pleasure are that the lines never seem to be down, no ‘TFL investment works’ and every train goes the full length of the line! So no worrying about which train to get on! There are no screens anyway telling you when the next train is coming, they just come around every 4 minutes. And how do you work out which direction they’re going? It will tell you the name of the station at the end of the line as opposed to telling you if its going north/south or east/west as in London. And finally the difference that I still haven’t got used to is that they do have an Oyster equivalent (that you can only put travel cards on as opposed to the pay-as-you-go option in London) but you tap in and not out! So as I get off the train and hurriedly try and find my card to tap out I realise that you can just walk straight through the barriers as you exit! Therefore I can only deduce that there’s a flat rate which would make sense as they don’t have zones anyway! The other thing that makes me laugh is the way the seats are arranged, like a proper train, no side ways on London tubes, this would be a problem coz it would stop people standing up if the metro trains were actually busy but they’re just not compared to London tubes!

Ok, enough of that rant! On to my next one…crossing the road! I’m really not sure what the etiquette of crossing the road is in Canada. Zebra crossing are few and far between. They do have crossings like we do. But there’s no button to press and no beeping. It’s a white man meaning ‘walk’ and a red hand meaning ‘don’t walk’. Also the equivalent of our green man flashing is the red hand with a 15/30 second count down. The only problem is that at think point the traffic lights turn green not flashing amber like ours so sometimes the cars move when people are still walking. And when there isn’t a crossing it’s a matter of working out the safest time to cross based on the traffic lights. I haven’t yet worked out how blind people cross the road safely without the beeping and twiddley things!

Ottawa’s my next stop, let’s see what delights that city brings :)

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