Montreal's Métro system recently underwent a much-needed and long-postponed renovation finally bringing its operations to a level achieved by many other cities, such as London and Paris, a decade earlier.

The new system is centred on the so-called “OPUS” smart card, a credit card sized piece of plastic with an embedded microchip. Rather than tickets or magnetic strips, one need only swipe one’s card over a relatively large blue section above the turnstile to be greeted by a moving turnstile or the separation of two interlocking red panels.

As far as cheating the system goes, this does eliminate the possibility of fooling ticket-takers in the lodge. However, those desperate to catch an arriving train, or simply deny the notoriously mismanaged Société du Transport de Montréal additional funds should know that the official policy is not to pursue those who jump turnstiles. Instead, as revealed in a 2008 in-depth investigation of the daily life of an STM employee in the tabloid le Journal de Montreal, ticket-takers are instructed to press a small button in their booths that alerts the central office at Berri-UQAM that such an infraction has occurred.

Be warned, however, that the recently created Métro Police Force has become increasingly aggressive against such infractions which might at one time have been overlooked in most stations. A Laval woman was recently fined $420 for failing to hold the handrail in an escalator, making international headlines.

All things considered, it’s probably not worth the effort. Buy a weekly pass and enjoy the art and architecture in the city’s metro system without looking over your shoulder.