Quebec (city)

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Quebec (city)
<map lat='46.8028796169284' lng='-71.24427795410156' zoom='11' view='0' />
Flag of Canada
State: Quebec
Population: 491,142
Licence plate: None in particular
Major roads: A-20, A-40, A-73, A-440, A-573, A-740
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Québec is the capital city of the province of the same name, Quebec. It is also one of the eldest city in North America and Canada renown for its historic centre and fortification but also for its proximity to the nature. Quebec city has a reputation as one of the safest place to be in country, violent crime is absent and scams are rare. Therefore the population is tolerant and trusting toward hitch-hikers and the police, usually easy-going unless you act like a fool.

Quebec city has one of the highest proportion of highway km/inhabitants in its metropolitan area. This has accentuate an easy commuting for the workers making the journey from the suburbs and surrounding counties. Therefore, hitching from Quebec city to the rural surroundings should usually be really simple as many commuters does travel nearly 100km every day between their home and the city and as such, hitching becomes a great alternative for those willing to see the countryside.

Even if hitching along the highway is 'de facto' illegal, it is still pretty common in the Greater Quebec region and would be tolerated at a certain point (once in the rural areas). Hitching in the urbanised metropolitan would NOT be tolerated at any point due to safety reasons. Hitching along the on-ramp would be no problem unless safety cause problems for drivers, which is the case in a few places. For that purpose, Do not walk trying to hitch along the following Urban Boulevard or Highway (stick to ramps):

  • A-73 (Autoroute Laurentienne/Autoroute Henri-IV) dense traffic, accident common
  • A-740 (Autoroute Du Vallon/Autoroute Robert-Bourassa) curvy highway used as a 'urban racetrack'
  • A-40 (Autoroute Charest) between exit 'Rue Jean-Gauvin' and the end of the highway ('Rue St-Sacrement') (dense traffic and no shoulder)
  • A-540 (Autoroute Duplessis) (no shoulder)
  • A-40/A-73 (Autoroute de la Capitale) dense traffic

East to Charlevoix on Route 138 (St. Lawrence North Shore)

The first attempt will be to get out of the urban area and join the road 138 east in the Beaupré County. Several spots might be possible to hitch out of the city but some might be better than another:

  • It would be possible to try out directly from downtown at the location of the defunct viaduc in the area of the 'Gare du Palais', Justice Hall and St-Roch Mall by starting at the beginning of the highway 440 or eventually starting at some other point on the on-ramp along this highway (called: Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency).
    • On-Ramp: Rue d'Estimauville (Beauport borough), accessible with bus #10 (at the edge of the Maizeret Park)
    • On-Ramp: Boulevard François-De Laval (Beauport Borough), at footsteps of bus #53,#251 or bus #800
    • On-Ramp: Rue Vallée (Beauport Borough), at footsteps of bus #53,#251

Note: for those willing to walk, this highway following the St-Lawrence shore is paralled with a linear park including a cycling path, at some spot it might even be possible to try out on the highway itself if there is some road shoulder.

  • Another try would be to take bus #800 until its terminus and start hitching at the on-ramp leading to the A-40 East which is at few footsteps of the terminus (Boulevard des Chutes - Beauport Borough). From there, the vast majority of the car should be heading outside the urban area (some might still be heading downtown though) and you should be able to get a ride to around the Ile d'Orléans bridge or maybe even further.
    • Unless you plan to make a stop by in the Beaupré County, you should be careful where you stop by if you catch a ride until there, as the 'Boulevard Ste-Anne' (Road 138) is well reputed for its high rate of deadly accident and dangerous spots, try to stick to the on-ramp, entrance of shopping mall or place of interests and make sure to be well visible but especially that there is enough space for a car to pull over without being hit by another incoming car. If you can get a ride all the way until the Mont Ste-Anne Ski Resort, you would have managed to cross the whole county and be at the edge of Charlevoix Region.

Going East from the Western part and attempting to cross the whole urban area would be possible in condition of sticking to the highway A-40 which does a pseudo-periphery loop in the North (Called 'Autoroute de la Capitale'). It would therefore be useful to manage a ride until the borough of Charlesbourg or Beauport to start further East at a on-ramp. Avoid stopping anywhere before the junction of the A-73 (Autoroute Laurentienne) in the urban area itself as all on-ramp are either local and industrial traffic or motorway junction with main inner city boulevard.

Going North, to Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean area along A-73

Hitching North is rather difficult, but not impossible. Two options first to get closer to a hitch location:

1) Take bus 801 to the corner of De La Couronne and Du Châlutier. There is an Ultramar gas station on the corner where you can attempt to hitch. Very average location however, as folks whom would like to pick you up will have to park in the gas station, and loads of local traffic.

2) Take bus 801 up to the Zoo terminal in Charlesbourg. Then, take bus 31 or 32 to the crossing of Henri-Bourassa, Notre-Dame and De la Durance (just before an underpass, ask the driver if necessary). Go under the underpass and find an Ultramar gas station with Subway and Salvatore Restaurants. Then, hitch in the onramp or close to the highway (beware the police station within 1 km)

Beware however, the 31 and 32 busses have very low frequency, especially during weekends. If it's not possible for you to get them, walk on Boulevard Henri-Bourassa until Rue Georges-Muir. Turn left and go set yourself up in the highway entrance 155 (175 North). Very little traffic, especially local. However, that would be your best bet. If the folks you meet do not go up to Saguenay, ask if they can drop you off at the Petro-Canada gas station just before the entrance of the park. From there, everybody should at least go to Laterrière / Chicoutimi.

West to Montreal along A-40

<map lat='46.79797360085845' lng='-71.2532901763916' zoom='15' view='3' float='right' />

  • Starting point in Quebec City

The best options are to either look at 'Local Hitching Section' on this page or try one of the following:

  • (EDIT : As of Sept. 2 2010, this spot is being demolished and it is not known yet what it will become. I recommend that you find another location. If you do find one, please add it here!) Corner of Route St-Sacrement and Boulevard Charest (at the start of the highway 440) before the street light or at one of the Gas Station located at its corner. To reach this spot, you would need to take bus #7 (which rides on Chemin Ste-Foy), step off at the St-Sacrement Church stop and walk down the hill. Note that many cars riding on A-40 will simply reach until Trois-Rivières which is a halfway breakdown on the highway to Montreal

It is most likely that your first ride will leads you into the western rural Portneuf County which is a good start (unless you catch a long-distance ride). If you make it further enough into the County (let's say after Cap-Santé - Exit 269) you may try to hitch directly along the highway if you feel the need. Anyhow, your first ride out of Quebec city should always at least manage to take you to the following exit:

  • Fossambault / St-Augustin - Exit 295
    • From there you can consider yourself out of the suburban area, and may hitch a ride further west from the on-ramp.
  • Donnacona - Exit 274
    • 24h Off-Motorway Services (Tim Hortons, Gas Stations, Bars) and one may manage to talk to people directly, note that the on-ramp is not lighten and located in the 'wild'. The people from that area are usually quite of friendly approach so no worries to go ask for information or help at any time.
  • St-Marc-des-Carrières - Exit 254
    • Last Off-Motorway Services before Trois-Rivières, which consists of a truck stop with restaurant, gas station, and snack bar. The highway on-ramp is just by the gas station.

West to Montreal or Ottawa along A-20

(EDIT: tried this route in December 2011, got to Ottawa via Montreal faster than the Greyhound) Assuming you are starting in the centre of Quebec City for me this was in the heart of Vieux Quebec. Get ready for a moderate walk. Take Rue Saint-Jean South West until its name changes to Chemin Ste-Foy at this point head Right on Rue de l'Aqueduc heading underneath and overpass. You will soon arrive at Blvd Charest Ouest, a busy commercial street. Turn left onto Charest Ouest, and Follow this street 2.1km South West. You will arrive at a point where the road obviously feeds to the highway. There is a bus stop "Charest Ouest / Cyrille-Duquet‎" and a Tim Hortons on the right hand side. This location is perfect, the bus stop offers cover if it is raining and drivers have 2 opportunities to safely stop for you after you have been spotted. Also, many drivers will pull into the Tim Hortons to grab something before they get on the highway heading West. The drive through exit is directly behind where you are standing and drivers also have a good view of you as they leave the Tim's.

East through A-20 (St. Lawrence South Shore)

Crossing to Levis

It's quite hard to hitch directly from Quebec city in direction east by the south bank of the St-Lawrence. One should cross St-Lawrence River using Québec-Lévis Ferry which is 2,75$CAN. From there, either walk or hitch the 5km directly South to highway A-20 by reaching Route 173 (Route du Président Kennedy) further near the Walmart. This entrance is a good one and you'll generally meet people going further than those you would meet trying to get out via the bridges.

Transiting further East (south shore)

See Levis for all details about transiting along the A-20

Be aware that many people coming from Montreal or from the East (Rimouski) will be stopping in Quebec city and hitching around the bridge might reveal difficult.

South direction Maine, USA along A-73

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Border Crossing

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Local Area Hitching

Hitching to the local Counties and mountainous surrounding of Quebec city should usually be pretty simple. The starting places will most likely be the same as for any other long distance hitching, although with an appropriate sign it could even be faster, some specific places includes the colleges and university area where many workers and students will return home at rush hour.

Where else to start: The main Colleges and University area are located in the borough of Ste-Foy and the amount of students and workers commuting there is brushing the 30 000 people (Université Laval, College Garneau, College Ste-Foy) and the local biggest mall is also located there (Place Laurier). The main bus line passes there (#800, #801, #7, #93). The starting points includes:

  • Universite Laval/Place Laurier:
    • Corner Boulevard Laurier/Boulevard Du Vallon (direction North/East or West)
  • College Ste-Foy:
    • Corner Chemin Ste-Foy/Boulevard Du Vallon (direction North/East or West)
    • Rue Nérée-Tremblay/Boulevard Versant-Nord (on-ramp to A-40, direction North/East or West)
  • Place Laurier:
    • Corner Chemin Quatre-Bourgeois/Autoroute Henri-IV (on-ramp, every direction)
    • Boulevard Laurier interchange jonction (direction North/South or West)

Destination to go:

  • Portneuf County (West)
  • Beaupré County (East)
  • Jacques-Cartier County (North)
  • Lévis Urban Area and Lotbinière County (South)

Public Transport

Public transport (RTC) in Quebec consists of a reliable bus network downtown and on the major boulevard which becomes less frequent in the suburbs. The main arterial network is the Metrobus #800-801 that head North and West from Quebec downtown.

The bus network is not that cheap and can't be cheated as you need to either pay (whom doesn't carry changes! So he will take what you give) or handle your ticket to the driver. The fare to pay on the bus is higher than if you're a ticket holder, so avoid not having a ticket which are for sale in every convenient store. The fare system is a bit prehistoric and does not offer any flexibility, but once you have handled your ticket to the driver, you can ask for a transfer allowing you to continue your journey on another bus network but which can not be used as a return. Beware that buses called 'express' only let passengers out at a suburbia terminal.

If you need to reach the south shore of the St. Lawrence to Lévis. The bus service has its own ticketing system, the South Shore (Levis) bus network, which comes to a few key spot in the city.

Night Buses:

This said, one great thing is that Quebec city's bus network offer an extensive night service from Thursday to Friday with bus running until 3am on certain route. Hitching within the city might actually work if you stand at a bus stop and try while the flow of the traffic is not too big, most of the locals despise the public transport system and might be keen of saving you off it!