The Montreal-based Transit app, which many residents turn to for information on bus times and locations, is partially shifting to a paid subscription model.
Users will still be able to freely access real-time updates, travel plans and directions, but information on remote departure times and transit routes will only be available through the new Transit subscription service. Royal, according to an Aug 2021 Press release.
The company said in an in-app message that Royale will also offer more travel options, custom emoji avatars, and customizable icons. This will further allow users to see where their friends are riding and participate in in-app competitions.
Royale will cost $24.99 for an annual subscription and $4.99 for a monthly subscription.
Transit began rolling out Royale gradually in 2021. The change is reaching cities where Transit has a partnership with local transit authorities in 2022. In Montreal, at least a few Transit app users have received notifications that the free service Unlimited will end in April.
Although Transit said agencies in some cities — like Rochester, New York; Dayton, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; and Santa Monica, Calif. — will cover the cost of Royale for customers, STM tells MTL Blog there are no such plans here.
An STM spokesperson said the company’s financial situation would not allow it to subsidize the service.
Transit is one of two trip information applications that the STM officially recommend customers use. The other is Crono.
The STM also claims that this will not change even after the introduction of paid subscriptions on Transit.
“The basic version of the application”, which will remain free, “already offers an adequate level of information to facilitate the use of the STM network and we continue to work with the team behind the application,” said the STM spokesperson.
“Our approach is to let the customer make an informed choice among the available applications, based on what best meets their needs.”