Montréal, November 25, 2011 – From the first horse-drawn tramways to the successive arrival of trolleys, buses and the métro, the development of public transit is closely linked to Montreal’s evolution of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
On Sunday, November 27, public transit will toast its 150th birthday. How far we have travelled!
It was on November 27, 1861, in Montréal, that citizens first experienced public transit service aboard horse-drawn tramways. The first year, ten horse-drawn vehicles completed one million passenger rides on two itineraries totalling a 10 kilometre distance along Notre-Dame, Saint-Jacques and Saint-Antoine Streets.
Then, the Rocket, the first electric tramway on Montreal streets, appeared in 1892. The tramway network spanned close to 500 km and criss-crossed the city until 1959. Buses took over, and the network has never ceased to expand since 1919. Trolleybuses have also been part of the landscape for nearly 30 years from 1937 to 1966. Finally, on October 14, 1966, 45 years ago, the métro was inaugurated particularly in anticipation of Expo 67.
Today, close to 1,700 STM buses cover the entire territory on the island Montreal. The métro network with its 759 cars services 68 stations along four lines on a 71 km distance. Public transit in Montreal will provide more than 400 million passenger rides in 2011, surpassing the record established in 1947.
Discover the history of public transit from past to present
Until the end of the year, it is still possible to witness how far public transit has come by travelling on the métro where railcars have been dressed up to feature the different eras of public transit. While locating this train that travels on the Orange line (2) is half the fun, you can learn about the rich and fascinating history of public transit, spanning from the tramway era to the present, through informative posters located inside the cars.
You can also visit free of charge the Passerelle des arts in Place-des-Arts metro station to view the fourth and final part of the exhibit entitled Hommage aux travailleurs d’hier à aujourd’hui where photographs from renowned photojournalists are shown. Indeed, Caroline Hayeur, Jean-François Leblanc and Jean-Eudes Schurr, all three members of the collective of photographers of Agence Stock Photo bring to this photographic blitz their experience, their passion for the encounter and their delight in sharing these discoveries and testimonials.
Finally, a visit to the website: http://www.150stm.info/accueil.html will provide you with a complete tour of public transit’s rich history from its beginnings in 1861 to the present day, and discover what the future holds as well.
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