First bus in Montréal, a White truck converted by the Company's workers (1919)

The first buses appeared in America and Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, the Montreal Tramways Company (MTC) preferred tramways to buses, since buses were less comfortable and could not carry as many passengers. However, the company needed to replace several parts of the rail crossing on Saint-Étienne Street (now Bridge Street). Given the significant costs involved, the MTC opted to replace the tramway with buses. Two White trucks were converted into buses at the company’s Youville repair shops and the new service was launched on November 22, 1919. In 1921, two more trucks were converted into buses and assigned to the shuttle between Berri Street and St. Helen’s Island.

After these test runs, the time had come for the MTC to give a real chance to the bus, which had continually improved over the years. In 1925, the company created a bus division and launched three new routes in quick succession: Lachine-Montreal-West (August 6), Lachine-LaSalle (August 15) and Sherbrooke Street (August 19). This time, the MTC didn’t build its own buses, turning instead to American suppliers. New routes were quickly created on Saint-Hubert Street, in Outremont, in Verdun, and between the Bordeaux and Cartierville areas. The number of buses increased from 24 to 55 and the company opened its first bus garage in Saint-Henri, which had a capacity of 85 vehicles.

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First bus, 1919   First bus, 1919   First bus, 1919   Summer bus, 1921

White bus, 1925   Yellow Coach bus, 1925   Saint-Henri garage, 1926   Saint-Henri garage, 1926

Several models of buses were tested, including the famous “Atwater Street Monster” built by the American company Versare. In 1931, a 35-vehicle garage was built on Côté Street, near the company’s head office. The network also grew in 1931 with service to Longueuil and St. Helen’s Island via the new Havre Bridge (Jacques-Cartier Bridge). The bus division now had 155 buses carrying over 20 million passengers yearly. Beginning in 1936, the bus replaced the tramway on certain routes and new garages were opened in Montreal East and on Mont-Royal Avenue. The following decade saw the opening of the Bellechasse (1941), Charlevoix (1944) and Villeray (1947) garages.

Seven trolleybuses built by the English company AEC were put into service on Beaubien Street in Montreal on March 29, 1937. It was the first modern trolleybus service in Canada, after unsuccessful tests in Toronto and Windsor, Ontario. Ten years later, the MTC decided to continue the experiment and acquired 40 more trolleybuses. These vehicles, which were built by the Canadian Car company, were put into service on Beaubien Street and, starting in 1949, on Amherst Street and Christophe-Colomb Avenue. The MTC received another 40 trolleybuses in 1949 and decided to deploy them on Bélanger Street. The number of trolleybuses increased from 80 to 105 in 1952, but then remained unchanged until this means of transportation was abandoned in 1966.

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Atwater Street Monster, 1927   Versare bus, 1928   Leyland bus, 1933   AEC trolleybus, 1937

Trolleybuses inauguration, 1937   Bellechasse Garage in construction, 1941   Mack bus during the war, 1943   AEC trolleybus on Beaubien Street, 1943

ACF bus on the Saint-Hubert line, 1943   Mack bus on the Lachine/Montreal-West line, 1943   Villeray Garage, 1947   Villeray Garage, 1947

Crémazie Plant in construction, 1947   Canadian Car-Brill bus, 1947   Twin Coach bus, 1947   Yellow Coach bus, before 1951

CCB trolleybus at the corner of Rachel and du Parc-La Fontaine, 1949   New CCB trolleybus, 1949   CCB trolleybus and tramway, 1953   CCB trolleybus on Beaubien Street, 1953

CCB trolleybus on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, 1953   CCB trolleybus at the garage, 1954   Last trolleybus, 1966    Trolleybus wires removal, 1966

The municipalization of public transit in 1951 led to all of the tramways being replaced by buses. The new Montreal Transportation Commission (MTC) acquired 1,300 buses, including a thousand of the Canadian Car-Brill model. The Commission set about transforming the old tramway sheds and expanded its shops at the Crémazie Plant, built in 1948. Finally, it opened the Namur (1954), Frontenac (1956) and Saint-Michel (1957) garages, as well as the Atwater and Frontenac terminuses (1956). The first express bus service was launched on Saint-Denis Street in 1955 and a completely new model of bus, the New Look from General Motors, was put into service in 1959.

The MTC’s service territory grew with the addition of new bus routes in Saint-Léonard (1963), Rivière-des-Prairies (1966), Jacques-Cartier (city subsequently merged with Longueuil in 1966) and Anjou (1966). Unveiled in 1962, the Commission’s new modern bus shelter was installed at certain key locations in the network. In 1965, fare zones were abolished to allow for fare integration between the buses and métro. The métro’s launch in October 1966 had a major impact on the bus network: dozens of routes were created, changed or eliminated. New magnetic tickets and new connections were also introduced.

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Delivery of a Canadian Car-Brill bus, 1951   Bus in the Saint-Rémi Tunnel, 1951   Canadian Car-Brill bus, 1952   New bus services in the East End, 1952

Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1953   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1953   Cafeteria at the Crémazie Plant, 1953   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1953

Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1953   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1953   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1953    CCB bus and tramway, 1953

Accident prevention, 1953   Bus driver in training, 1955   Bus drivers in training, 1955   Namur Garage, 1956

Atwater Terminus, 1956   Atwater Terminus, 1956   Atwater Terminus, 1956   Frontenac Terminus, 1956

Frontenac Garage during construction, 1956   Atwater Terminus, 1956   CCB bus in front of the cathedral, 1956   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1957

Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1957   Hochelaga Terminus, 1957   Bus on Côte-des-Neiges Road, 1957   Bus with two steering wheels, 1957

Bus drivers during training, 1957   3000 Series CCB bus, 1957   GM New Look bus, 1959   Saint-Michel Garage, 1959

CCB bus at the corner of Barclay and Decelles, 1959   Garland Terminus, 1959   Inspectors at Youville, 1959   Mountain Line, 1960

Saint-Paul Garage, 1960   Frontenac Garage, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960

Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960

Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960   Workers at the Crémazie Plant, 1960

Gifts for good bus drivers, 1960   Mountain Line inauguration, 1960   Ahuntsic Terminus, 1961   Atwater Terminus, 1961

Screenprinting shop, 1961   Screenprinting shop, 1961   Cartierville Terminus, 1961   Montréal-Est Terminus, 1961

Craig Terminus, 1961   Express Line inauguration, 1961   Punch clock for buses, 1962   Forum Express bus, 1962

Change dispenser, 1962   1960's bus shelter, 1962   Atwater Terminus, 1963   Atwater Terminus, 1963

Service begins in Saint-Léonard, 1963   Transportation Commission vehicles, 1963   Accident prevention, 1964   GM New Look bus being washed, 1964

Canadian Car-Brill buses, 1964   GM New Look bus, 1964   Monsieur Galant campaign, 1964   Bus number installation, 1965

Farebox installation, 1965   Canadair-Flxible bus, 1965   Canadair-Flxette minibus, 1965   Farebox inside a bus, 1965

Bus driver uniform, 1965   Canadair-Flxible bus, 1965   Canadair-Flxible bus, 1965   GM New Look bus, 1965

Transfer dispenser, 1966   Promenade service, 1966   Service begins in Anjou, 1966   Saviem bus tryout, 1967

Expo bus, 1967   Cleaning the outside of a bus, 1968   Cleaning the inside of a bus, 1968   MAN bus tryout, 1969

In 1970, the Montreal Transportation Commission became the Commission de transport de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal (CTCUM). That same year, the very first Origin-Destination survey was conducted to help the Commission adjust its network based on the population’s needs. The Saint-Denis garage was again expanded in 1971, while the Legendre garage opened in 1973. The first Métrobus service was launched on Newman Boulevard in LaSalle in 1974. Also in 1974, exact-fare payment was implemented aboard buses, which would now be painted white and blue. Finally, in 1977, a new era began when Francine Maltais became the first woman to drive a CTCUM bus.

The 1980 launch of the A-U-T-O-B-U-S telephone information line and the Carte Autobus-Métro (CAM) changed the habits of the CTCUM's clientele, which grew with the start of regular service in Montreal’s West Island, an area previously unserved by the Commission. Also in 1980, the CTCUM received the mandate to serve 61 of Montreal’s urban municipalities, which it would do for a number of years. New garages were opened in Anjou (1983) and Saint-Laurent (1985), while a new bus model, the Classic, was deployed in 1983. The Commission became the Société de transport de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal (STCUM) in 1985 and introduced its first night-time bus network in 1988.

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Montréalités service, 1970   Bus on Saint-François-Xavier Street, 1970   Bus at Longueuil Terminus, 1970   1970's bus shelter, 1973

Origin-Destination survey, 1974   First Métrobus Line, 1974   First Métrobus Line, 1974   Coach bus at Mirabel Airport, 1975

Francine Maltais, 1977   Bus driver uniform, 1978   1970's bus shelter, 1978   Bus stops, 1980

Bus stop, 1980   Legendre Garage, 1980   A-U-T-O-B-U-S information service, 1980   Jacques-Cartier Bridge, 1981

On Mount Royal, 1982   On Mount Royal, 1982   Opening of Anjou Garage, 1983   GM Classic bus, 1983

Bus GM Classic, 1983   Anjou Garage, 1983   GM Classic bus, 1983   GM Classic bus, 1983

GM Classic bus, 1983   GM Classic bus, 1984   GM Classic bus, 1984   Saint-Laurent Garage in construction, 1984

Rodeo-bus, 1984   Regional service, 1984   Charlevoix Garage, 1985   Saint-Laurent Garage, 1985

Saint-Laurent Garage, 1985   Saint-Laurent Garage, 1985   Saint-Laurent Garage, 1985   Opening of Saint-Laurent Garage, 1985

Bus driver uniform, 1985   Le Lait Superbus, 1986   Bus outside Snowdon Station, 1986   July 14 flooding, 1987

The first reserved lanes for buses were created on Pie-IX Boulevard in 1990. Other reserved lanes were added that same year on Du Parc Avenue, René-Lévesque Boulevard West and Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges. Customer information was enhanced with the regular distribution of Planibus timetables starting in 1992, the introduction of the TELBUS schedule information system the following year and the launch of the company’s website in 1997. A major milestone in universal accessibility was reached in 1996 with the introduction of the first low-floor bus (LFB), and the first three wheelchair-accessible routes were launched in 1998.

In 2002, the STCUM became the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and also launched its Biobus project to promote the use of biodiesel. That same year, the STM began its Fare Sales and Collection project aimed at deploying a new system using smart-card technology. In 2005, it began replacing fare boxes aboard buses and introduced the OPUS smart card in 2008. The STM deployed its first biodiesel-electric hybrid-drive buses in 2008 and its first articulated buses in 2009. The company also opened its new bus body shop and expanded the Legendre garage in 2009. Finally, the STM launched several new routes, including the 747 express between downtown and Montreal-Trudeau Airport.

Click on these STM Archives pictures to enlarge them.

Classic bus during winter, 1990   Pie-IX reserved lane, 1990   Bus driver uniform, 1990   Classic bus during summer, 1990

1980's bus shelter, 1992   1990's bus shelter, 1992   Du Parc reserved lane, 1992   LaSalle Garage, 1994

Opening of LaSalle Garage, 1995   Hythane bus, 1996   Accessible bus, 1999   Last GM New Look bus, 2002

Biobus project, 2002   Green Driving project, 2005   Hybrid bus, 2008   OPUS card launching, 2008

Legendre Garage expansion, 2009   Articulated bus, 2009   747 shuttle, 2010   APTA award, 2010

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