The STM welcomes the Québec Government’s initiative for electrifying public transit networks

Press release

Montréal, April 7, 2011    The Chairman of the STM Board of Directors, Mr. Michel Labrecque, is pleased by the Government of Québec’s announcement of its 2011-2020 Action Plan for Electric Vehicles as it relates to electrifying public transit networks. “The idea of resorting to electric vehicles to ensure 95% of all public transit travel by 2030 will certainly help to reach the set target for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our dependence on oil. We agree with the government’s intention to include this aspect in its revised public transportation policy and to support public transit corporations as they monitor new technologies, assess showcase projects and roll out services,” declared Mr. Labrecque.

The new initiative by the Government of Québec will enable the STM to sustain its efforts to increase services and ridership, while striving to fully electrify its bus and métro networks, as outlined in its 2020 Strategic Plan. Indeed, the STM is currently responsible for 0.2% of GHG emissions in Québec, while avoiding more than 660 000 tons of emissions per year. The STM is intent on procuring zero-emissions buses only as of 2025, a move that presents several advantages in terms of sustainable development. Among them, a substantial reduction in GHG emissions and other airborne contaminants, the use of a renewable energy source, hydroelectricity, and improvements in energy efficiency.

“The STM has been quite innovative these past few years, as it took part in showcase projects for new technologies and began procuring hybrid (diesel and electric) buses in 2008 (eight vehicles), a transitional technology similar to that of the car industry. A 30% reduction in fuel consumption also means a proportional reduction in emissions of GHGs and atmospheric pollutants. The STM wants to continue in this direction to support the government with its project of electrifying public transportation. To that end, it will only purchase diesel-electric hybrid buses as of 2013, in order to scrap the last diesel-powered bus by 2028,” indicated Mr. Labrecque.

The STM is also interested in “boost-charging” technology, which means buses can recharge their batteries using devices installed at certain bus stops. Such recharging devices will make it possible for buses to travel longer distances before having to fully recharge their batteries. The corporation plans on conducting a project with Hydro-Québec, as early as 2011, to showcase this technology. Moreover, in collaboration with the City of Montreal and Hydro-Québec, the STM plans on deploying a limited trolleybus network to better assess this transportation mode, compare its operating and maintenance costs to those of current buses, and measure its impact on customer service.

“With nearly 390 million trips in 2010, a 1.5% increase over 2009, the STM has prevented emissions equivalent to some 509 000 tons of CO2. Even if Montréal public transit presents an excellent “bottom line” in terms of GHG emissions, thanks in large part to the métro, as it runs on electricity since 1966 and produces zero emissions, the STM is determined to continue with its efforts to reduce its own GHG emissions,” concluded Michel Labrecque.

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