Montreal YUL to Bonaventure
July 28, 2023 8:24 AM   Subscribe

I am interested in getting from YUL to Bonaventure or Gare Centrale via transit. It looks like there is a bus that runs to another Metro station, which can then be taken to Bonventure. That looks like a very long ride, possibly two hours or so. Are there other options to get to downtown, perhaps via commuter rail?

I'm traveling with a parent, so the less walking or waiting or transfers, the better.

While ride-share or taxis are potentially a fallback option, for reasons, my question is about transit, if that is possible and reasonable for getting myself and a parent from the airport to downtown in a reasonable amount of time.
posted by They sucked his brains out! to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Montreal transit agency STM has a trip planner on their website.

According to it, the 747 takes about 30 minutes to get to René-Lévesque / Mansfield, which they say is about a 3 minute walk from Gare Centrale.

The other option seems to be taking the 747 to Station Lionel-Groulx and then the Metro to Bonaventure. Timing seems to be about 40 minutes.
posted by scorbet at 9:04 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Hi! I live in Montreal and I take that bus often.

The easiest public transit trip from YUL to Bonaventure is indeed to take the 747 bus from YUL to the metro station Lionel-Groulx, then take the orange line from Lionel-Groulx to Bonaventure.

It's not a long trip -- it should only take about 30-35 minutes in light traffic, or up to an hour in heavy traffic. Definitely not 2 hours unless something has gone horribly wrong.

One thing to be aware of is that the bus is often quite full at peak hours, so if you want a seat, you may need to let one bus pass and wait for the next one. There's a designated lineup area so it should be pretty civilized, and the buses come every 10 minutes or so; I've never had to wait very long.

Oh, one more thing -- the Bonaventure / Gare Centrale station is basically a huge maze of underground tunnels -- I recommend figuring out exactly which exit or location you need to aim for ahead of time, or you might end up doing lots of extra walking once you get off the train.

It may actually be easier to take the bus all the way to your final destination, as scorbet mentions -- but that depends on where exactly near Gare Centrale you're trying to get to.
posted by mekily at 9:06 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

The route 747 bus leaves from YUL every 15 minutes and goes through the downtown on Boul. René-Lévesque, which is a block north of Gare Centrale. It takes about half an hour on the bus to go downtown from the airport. The bus is a typical city bus, although with luggage racks at the front.

There's a second 747 bus that just goes to the Lionel-Groulx metro station (which takes about 20 minutes) from which you can take a metro to Bonaventure/Gare Centrale. But while that could reduce your waiting time -- the buses both run every 15 minutes and alternate -- it would add a transfer and a walk and not save you significant time, unless you wanted to catch the metro somewhere else anyways.

If I recall correctly, the bus stop is at one end of the airport terminal, which could mean a walk depending on where you're coming from (shorter if from outside Canada than if domestic), although the signage inside the terminal was pretty good.
posted by Superilla at 9:07 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

It's not a cheap option (about $67 for an adult and a senior, depending on how far in advance you book) and the schedules are not great, but you can also technically take a Via Rail train from the Dorval station to Gare Central. A complementary shuttle bus takes you from YUL to the Dorval train station and the shuttle driver will help with any luggage and typically train staff will help older people with their luggage up onto the train. It means a guaranteed seat and a very direct route to Gare Centrale.

They used to issue a separate ticket for the shuttle that told you where to meet it but for some reason don't do that anymore - you meet the shuttle on the departures level at door 8.
posted by urbanlenny at 9:24 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Are there other options to get to downtown, perhaps via commuter rail?

I would echo all the other posters who suggest the 747 as by far the best option, but just for the sake of completeness, commuter rail is really not the best option, as:

- The closest commuter rail station, Dorval, is a 25-minute walk from the airport, down car-centric roads like this. There is a regular city bus, the 204, that runs from the airport to Dorval station, but this bus only runs twice an hour. (There's also the Via Rail shuttle bus, but you should note that the Via Rail Dorval station and the RTM commuter rail Dorval station are not the same station, although they are adjacent, and I don't know if the Via Rail bus requires presentation of a Via Rail ticket.)

- The train (exo line 1, Vaudreuil-Hudson) ends at Lucien-L'Allier station, which is itself a 10-ish minute walk to Gare Centrale or Bonaventure.

- The biggest thing is that the train schedule is very much designed for weekday Montréal-bound commuters -- on weekdays there are 8 Montréal-bound trains between 06:23 and 08:58 and then there are only 4 more Montréal-bound trains for the entire rest of the day (11:52, 14:32, 17:27 and 20:32). On weekends there are only three to four trains the entire day, period.
posted by andrewesque at 9:29 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

I don't know if the Via Rail bus requires presentation of a Via Rail ticket.

It doesn't, at least. Even when they used to have the separate tickets, the shuttle operator never looked at them. The Via shuttle comes every 20 minutes, I believe.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:12 AM on July 28

The only problem with the 747 is that if you don't have the exact cash (11 CAD per person), lately 2 of the 4 machines to get a ticket at the airport have been broken resulting in extremely long lines.

Maybe they've repaired them, but I'd try to have the money on-hand so you can go directly to the bus line.
posted by Laura in Canada at 1:18 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Note that to take the 747 you'll need to pay an $11 fare BUT you can also use any transit pass including the 24-hour pass which costs... $11. So if you're going to use other transit on your trip it's likely better to buy a 24-hour, 3-day or weekend pass (or a weekly if your trip falls between Monday and Sunday).
posted by Gortuk at 1:28 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]

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