First, I tried to purchase one at the automatic machines in the metro station - no luck. These just recharge existing cards.
Then, I tried to check the STM website to find out where opus cards could be purchased. Unsurprisingly, the Where to buy it section of the STM website doesn't tell you where to buy the opus card. It states only that "The OPUS card is gradually going on sale throughout the metropolitan area ..." followed by instructions indicating how to FILL your opus card at the automated machines.
So, then I called the STM OPUS info line 514 STM-OPUS (514 786-6787) where the nice gentlemen told me I could buy a blank opus card from the metro ticket seller, as well as in a list of designated service areas available on the website. So I check the list and find a Pharmaprix close to here has them I go - and find out I didn't read the small print carefully enough; they will not be available at the Pharmaprix until the end of October.
So... I trek to the metro, and wait in line (September 2nd! Line is huge!) for the ticket operator to sell me an opus card. I finally get to the front of the line and am told the metro operator can't sell me an opus card because they are changing shift and I have to wait for the new guy, 5-10 min. So I say I wait and I step back for other people to be able to be served.
Eventually I am beckoned and I try (for the fourth time) to buy the card - but am told I cannot buy a blank opus card, contrary to what the STM opus info line informed me. Instead I have to buy it already filled with either one transit, six passes, or a monthly pass. I have only $5 cash, not nearly enough to buy a bus pass and the opus card. The guy tells me I can buy it with one ticket on it. I scrounge and count nickels and dimes and manage to come up with the extra change.
Finally, I am able to go to an automatic refill machine and add a monthly pass to the card. I have no idea if my single use fare is still available or deleted - I suppose time will tell.
To the STM: the technology problems of the opus card are MINOR compared with the communication problems. Is it really so difficult to have clear, accurate information available on the website, and via your operators? It really shouldn't be. A simple list of where opus cards are available, and in what denominations should be fairly simple to generate.
Also, the replacement option? Or, in other words, the main advantage of the opus cards? Registration of opus cards for those on full fare monthly passes will not be available until "the end of fall 2008". GREAT.
For regular fare transit users, I recommend waiting at least several months before upgrading to an opus card! Perhaps by then they will be more widely available and easier to acquire. What a hassle!!!