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Transit options – Plattsburgh, New York to Montreal
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Transit options – Plattsburgh, New York to Montreal

by jeffreyFebruary 4, 2013
This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Montreal & Quebec City

Plattsburgh (PBG) airport is served by three carriers–all considered to be “low-cost carriers”:

  • penair
    Flights to: Boston
  • spiritair
    Flights to: Myrtle Beach (MYR), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Allegiant
    Flights to: Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando/Sanford (SFB), Las Vegas (LAS), Punta Gorda (PGD)

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Alright, so you bit the bullet on the dirt cheap tickets on Spirit Air to head to Montreal but didn’t exactly think that, no matter what the liars at Spirit say, it isn’t like Plattsburgh is a suburb of Montreal — it’s fricken’ 70 miles away — a solid 90 mins.


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So, the getting there is a very important part of your travel plans.

Transportation Options

  1. Rent a car
    Cost: $50+/day, hotel parking $20+/day

    Door-to-door time: Appx 2 hours

    Renting a car can be a very good option for many people, as long as you can get a good rate. If Montreal is your one and only destination, skip the car as you can get around easier on foot or subway and you’ll skip out on expensive parking charges at the hotels. In our case, we flew into Plattsburgh but flew out of Montreal and a one-way car rental is either impossible (in the case of Hertz) or prohibitively expensive.

  2. Take the bus
    Cost: $20/person one-way, $10 for taxi to bus station

    Door-to-door time: Appx 4.5 hours

    We had planned on taking the bus from Plattsburgh to Montreal because they only charge $20 each way.  Trailways of New York operates 5 trips a day for $20 a person. The trip is scheduled to take right at 2 hours but that can vary with traffic and border crossings. The downside is that with only 5 departures a day, you’re guaranteed to be doing some waiting. For example: Our flight was scheduled to arrive at 12:55pm. The next bus departure is 3:10pm which is a fairly safe amount of time to grab a cab (only about a $10 ride and 10 minutes) to the bus station, get tickets and be there in plenty time to grab a seat. But, like it or not, those 2 hours in between are totally wasted and if you miss the 3:10pm bus, your next best bet is 5:40pm–that’s not a gamble I’m comfortable taking since anytime is Plattsburgh is already much longer than I wanted to spend.The scenario is similar on the way home:  to catch the 1:39pm Spirit Air flight out, you’d have to make sure you’re on the 9am bus from Montreal and there goes that day.

    Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 10.38.17 PM

    Link to current fares, schedules etc…

     

  3. Take the train
    Cost: $22/person one-way

    Door-to-door time: Appx 6.5 hours

    Amtrak has 1 departure/day from Plattsburgh to Montreal that takes a shocking 3 hours, 54 mins (I mean it’s a straight shot north–how is that possible, Amtrak?!). It’ll only run you $22/person but, given the fact that there’s only 1 shot to catch it a day, it’d be terrible to have a delayed flight/train to ruin your weekend.
    Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 10.28.44 PM
  4. Take a taxi/town car – 
    Cost: $90 total + tip

    Door-to-door time: Appx 1.5 hours

    We were originally hell-bent on taking the bus, but when we jumped in the taxi to take us to the bus station, he said he goes into Canada regularly and could make the trip for just $90. Given that it was right around 4 p.m. and our bus didn’t leave until 5:40 p.m. (and then took appx 2 hours), it was a no-brainer to go the taxi route. It was just about $50 each for 2 people and it put us at our hotel in about 90 minutes. Further reassuring our decision, when we crossed the border, a Greyhound Bus was stopped with all passengers de-boarding to be processed by customs—looked like a rather terrible time.

BOTTOM LINE: Weigh your options carefully when transiting from Plattsburgh airport to Montreal (we recommend a taxi) and have a back up plan–otherwise, you might spend your first night in Montreal at a crappy Applebee’s in “downtown” Plattsburgh.

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  • Seth

    I just want to say, as a regular train traveler on the New York to Montreal line, the reason why its a five hour trip between Plattsburgh (PLB) and Montreal (MTR) is because the Border Inspection stop is allowed a minimum of two hours in the schedule padding. either way customs can take less than two hours or more than two hours. At the minimum you should expect a stop of at least 2 hours. From My experience, ive been doing the trip to Montreal many times since 2010, the border stop can be 25 minutes or the longest i’ve had is 4 and a half hours at the border.

    • Thanks for the info! Sounds like it’d be a reasonable bet when heading to Montreal after flying into Plattsburgh but still too much of a gamble if you’re relying on the promptness of the train to catch a flight out…