Urban Transit Demonstration Program The STM and STO form a partnership to test hybrid buses in Montreal and Gatineau

Press release


Urban Transit Demonstration Program
The STM and STO form a partnership to test
hybrid buses in Montreal and Gatineau

Montreal, 8 July 2003 – The Société de transport de Montréal today unveiled the urban transit demonstration project it will carry out in partnership with the Société de transport de l’Outaouais, if their proposal is chosen by Transport Canada’s selection committee.

Indeed, STM and STO senior managers travelled to Moncton on June 25 to present the $ 30 M project, which aims to demonstrate, evaluate and promote efficient, comprehensive strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions by public transit vehicles in two large cities in Québec. Transport Canada could invest up to $10 M, the Québec government could fund a third of the project, while another third could be provided by suppliers and private partners.

According to Lawrence Cannon, president of the Outaouais transit authority leading the project, " If our proposal is chosen, hybrid buses – fuelled by both diesel (or biodiesel in Montreal) and electricity – would be running along major thoroughfares in Gatineau and Montreal, where they would help reduce fuel consumption by at least 33%. Greenhouse gas emissions would also be proportionally lowered by about 1628 tons of carbon dioxide a year in Gatineau and 1500 tons in Montreal, equal in output to 626 cars. Such results should provide the incentive needed to promote changes in transportation modes and encourage even more people to use public transit ".

The Montreal project
In Montreal, the eleven articulated low-floor hybrid buses would operate on the 105 – Sherbrooke line, a well-known commercial thoroughfare. The 105 route was chosen because of its short length (4 kilometers), its heavy ridership levels (over 4 million trips a year) and high service frequency. It also allows for intermodal transportation, as it converges on Vend�me métro station, as well as on Vend�me and Montréal-Ouest train stations along the Montreal-Rigaud commuter line.

Measures to promote public transportation
In order to carry out the project, modifications will be required along Sherbrooke street, including the extension of bus stop zones (to accomodate the length of articulated buses), adjusting the height of sidewalks, eliminating street parking spaces, redesigning the approaches to Vend�me station and building a terminus at the Elmhurst loop. The project also calls for preferential measures to shorten trip times on the 105 bus route. To that end, priority traffic lights, arrows allowing right-hand turns, protected bus stop zones, appropriate signalling and detector loops must be installed. A marketing and communications action plan will also be implemented to promote public transportation and stimulate the local economy.

Promising results
The Chairman of the STM’s Board of Directors, Claude Dauphin, is quite enthusiastic about the project. "If these measures were applied to the STM’s entire bus fleet, they could reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 47,000 tons, which is equal to 9,400 less cars in the streets of Montreal (at 20,000 km/year). Few projects are as promising. Mass transit is without a doubt one of the solutions that will allow us to reach the goals set out by the Kyoto Accord; in the interest of our future, we must invest in public transportation. "

Since 1992, the STM has been committed to sustainable transportation research and development. The transit corportation has tested natural gas, hythane (a mix of hydrogen and methane) and, more recently, biodiesel as an alternative source of efficient, less polluting fuel. Unfortunately, it is also more expensive than petrodiesel (based on the STM’s fuel consumption, it would cost $1.9 M more each year to supply its fleet of 1600 buses).

High hopes
The two transit authorities should find out in September if their project has been selected by Transport Canada. If so, the joint STO-STM project could be launched in January 2004 along with the first contracts being signed. Hybrid buses could be put into operation in Montreal and Gatineau by the end of 2004.