I’ll start with the inconvenience factor, this is one of the few car rentals companies that is not located at the airport, in fact no one was quite sure where they were, someone said they were in a house about 1 km away, our shuttle driver was the one that finally delivered us to the Hilton near the airport where they were located. They also close earlier than the other companies, by the time our delayed flight had landed at 11 pm, it was already closed.
But the real reason I’d not recommend them is that when we went to turn in our car, my 5 day $161 US rental turned out to be $266 CAD or $239 US. Now by my calculations, $161 US should be about $179CAD at current exchange rates. So when we asked what the extra charge was for there was $8.95 CAD per day for mandatory liability (OK that was in the fine print). So now I’m at $201US, what’s the other $38 for? The best I can figure from the explanation I got was that they charge their customers at a different exchange rate based on what the credit card charge them. We offered to pay them in cash. They said they don’t take cash. We had to catch a plane. So we signed, very unhappy.
Do yourself a favor and don’t rent from these folks.
If you visit Montreal, you will undoubtedly notice people jaywalking. However, you should never do this, you risk getting a fine, and more importantly, Montreal drivers don't stop or even slow down for pedestrians. We are very nice people on the whole, just not behind the wheel!
Also, on Montreal island you can NEVER make a right turn on a red light, however, outside the island you generally can, unless you see a sign stating otherwise. The bridges are the busiest in Canada, if you must take them during the day, 1-3 pm is the best time.
Finally, if you are coming from the West (I-87 or 89), DON'T DRIVE IN THE FAR LEFT LANE near Pont Champlain. You'll get hit by an oncoming bus! There are signs, but they're vague.
Montreal and New York are the only cities in North America than you cant turn right in the red light.
In large suburb like Longueuil and Laval, you can only if 50% of the intersection. Watch for the sign.
Be careful because the police tickets are expensive (something like 150$ for this infraction)
Please get informed on the driving code in North America before you hit the road anywhere in Canada. I'm not affraid for us but mostly for you...
For example we do not stop right under the traffic lights but right before the white street line, which is way before the intersection!
The one-way sign is a white arrow on a black board, although not very evident, please be on the lookout.
Also... we do not have it as a habit (although we should) to stop at pedestrian yellow crossings lines... if you do so where there is no red traffic light, you might just end up getting smashed into from the rear.
One last thing... when you see that cars are all parked in the same direction, that might be because it is the way to park, even if you got the parking spot at the last minute or couldn't miss the opportunity... you'll get a parking ticket for parking "tête-bèche".
Many people think their city has the worst drivers in the world, but many of them change their mind after they have visited Montreal. Further proof of the city's infestation by Jacques Villeneuve wannabes was added in April 2003, when right turns on red lights were permitted everywhere in Quebec EXCEPT Montreal (and certain marked intersections in the surrounding suburbs).
Always look before you cross, even if you have a green light. Many Montreal drivers firmly believe that if the light has just turned red for them, they can turn back time and make the light yellow again if they push the gas pedal hard enough through the floor. Also, the meaning of pedestrian crossings has long been forgotten, as most locals think those zebra stripes merely serve decoration purposes.
Conversely, Montreal is also home to some of the worst pedestrians in the world. In a bid not to be outdone by their wacky driver counterparts, Montreal pedestrians tend to cross the street when and where they want. A red light has come to mean "Look before you cross" (basically, the same as a green light). Furthermore, ever since they realized there are no street lights in the middle of the street, Montrealers have embraced this as a new, more fun place to cross the street.
On a more serious note, police have recently announced they intend to crack down on this kind of behaviour, but this is not the first time they have done so. While I may have exaggerated in my description of the danger, remember that "forewarned is forearmed".
First of all, I dont recommend you use a car or come downtown with a car as it is so difficult to find parking downtown Montreal. If you can, use the metro or the bus which is easy to go around (you can buy a cheap illlimited pass for the week).
But if you cant, watch out for parking regulations which are in French and especially for the ones with red tags (vignette) which are parking zones only for local residents only. As for meters, you dont need to put money on Sundays or Special Holidays.
Also, make sure you dont leave anything in sight in your car, especially no maps or valuable things. Try, if you can afford, to park in a parking lot. It will be safer and maybe cheaper (no tickets!). :)
Whether you are driving, biking or walking in Montreal, be careful!
The drivers seem to go on red lights, turn when they're not always supposed to, and they certainly dont always stop for pedestrians who are crossing the street in a crosswalk!
On this note, a lot of people just jaywalk and cross the street whenever and wherever they please.
So, like I said, whether you are driving, walking or biking, make sure you are aware of what is going on around you. Keep your eyes up!
Just a little tip for all you drivers out there.
In the rest of Quebec Province it is perfectly OK to make a right turn at road intersections even when the traffic lights are on red (provided of course your route is clear and bearing in mind that pedestrians crossing still have right of way). Not so on the Ile de Montreal. Here you can only make your turn on the green light.
Why? I don't know, but I assume there must be a reason for it. If anyone does know please drop me a line.
For Quebec driving info see website below:
When coming to Montreal with a car during winter season, remember to bring a shovel along. Good winter tires, and sand in the trunk. No need to go to Cancun for it, they sell bags of it in hardware stores. Oh yes, lots and lots of patience!
By the way, this is an extraordinary amount of snow falling on the same day. You probably won't be experiencing the same amount of snow falling on your car...
Right now the roads in Montreal are miserables, don't be surprised to find many holes in the roads (here they call them: Nids de poule), so be alwayse aware if you are driving.
CAA quebec create a web page in their site dedicated for this and with the help of drivers the list is updated frequently.
When in Montreal the biggest thing you have to get used to is the traffic. Montreal drivers are like none other- street lights are there merely for decoration... and to make tourists think there is actually a safe time to cross the street :) After a few days of being honked at and nearly run over by impatient and angry drivers, I discovered that when in Rome... cross the street like the locals do! Regardless of the lights, if there is no traffic then GO!
Make sure you can read some french ,
Do not park at certain times in streets when they need to be clear to be cleaned or you will incurr a 52$ Fine and also you should never Park within 5M of a Fire Hydrant ..52$ Fine!
Generally drivers are big egotists here in North america , They actually don`t really know it ,...
Its just the way the North American thing is.... Its like you will see on TV ,Canada or Canadian mentioned within every sentence .. You don`t hear that anywhere else .. Its just that ego thing again and when in comes to Driving that egos there again built in ..
You will soon be aware of it ...
Canadian have to be natural winners .. thats the way they are taught ... but they never realise the wars created... and so cool with it !!
completely oblivious !! So be warned go careful ...
Montreal is 2-3 hours away from the next largest city, so make sure you fill up on gasoline before you make the drive. There is a LOT of farm land that surrounds the city and gas stations are far and few in between! Make sure your car is in good condition, as you sure wouldn't want to pay for getting towed 100 miles or so to the nearest mechanic, either.
The weather can be cold, so if you're driving, be sure to dress warm enough. Bring several bottles of drinking water "just in case". It's not like Massachusetts where there's a Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks every other corner :o)
And there's a casino there, too, but every casino area is known for its regulars. Always lock up your car and keep your money close to you. (Don't count it out in the open.)
The summer is coming, the city become alive again, it's the season of fun and festivals but alos of construction! especially this summer of 2006, the city intend to remake lot of roads because they become so bad and dangerous.
So if you are coming this summer then be prepared ;)
Ok, if you are driving the speed limit, GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE! MOVE OUT OF MY WAY! Yes, we are speed freaks. No, you won't slow us down. Just move to the left. If not, we will go up your bumper, just watch us. This is no joking matter.
You can stay in the middle lane, that is OK, but stay out of the left lane on the highways if you are going slow. If someone flashes their highbeams from behind, that is our polite way of saying "Please move over, or I will run you over". We are fast paced, and it can be difficult for other people to drive in our city. If you know our driving culture, you will be OK. So, #1) Slow = to the right #2) Watch out for potholes #3) Yellow light = hurry up or you will be stuck at the red light.
Oh yeah, when the light turns green, look LEFT - CENTER - RIGHT just to make sure someone is not burning the red light and smash into you. OOPS!