STM tests new electric minibus for paratransit

Press release

The STM proudly annouces that it will bgein testing on a new electric minibus for paratransit.

Montréal, June 22, 2021 – As a renowned pioneer of electrification in North America, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is proud to have reached a new milestone in its surface network transformation by announcing that it will conduct a demonstration project to test its very first long-range electric minibus. The vehicle is intended for use in the paratransit network and was manufactured by Quebec-based supplier Girardin Blue Bird. The STM will be the first transit agency in Quebec to use a fully electric vehicle for paratransit trips. Over the next few weeks, trials will be conducted without passengers to evaluate the vehicle’s performance, and customers should begin taking their first trips on it by this fall.

Supplier Girardin Blue Bird’s G5e electric minibus model was selected after a thorough call for tenders process, during which the STM confirmed that the vehicle would meet its criteria, requirements and operational needs and ensure a high-quality transit experience for its customers.

“We are excited about this project and how it embodies the STM’s overall vision for our electrification strategy. Besides the undeniable ecological benefits, electric buses help improve our customers’ transit experience, and it was very important to us that our paratransit customers benefit from this shift as well,” says Renée Amilcar, Executive Director, Bus Services, STM.

“Girardin is proud to have been selected for the demonstration project of the first electric minibus intended for paratransit,” says Michel Daneault, Vice President, Sales and Services – Eastern Canada, Girardin Blue Bird. “We believe that customers will love the electric transit experience. They will not only benefit from a quiet ride but also know that they are doing their part by taking an eco-friendly mode of transportation. Bravo to the STM for taking this step in the right direction!”

About the minibus

  • G5e model from supplier Girardin Blue Bird
  • Long-range, high-floor electric minibus
  • Seating capacity comparable to standard minibuses currently in use
  • 118-kWh lithium-ion NMC batteries
  • 200 km expected range
  • TM4 electric drive system
  • 10-hour AC recharge time at 240 volts, 3-hour with 400-volt charger
  • $390,000 purchase price

Robust trials before commissioning

Over the next few weeks, the minibus will be subjected to a series of tests and trials under different operating conditions, without passengers on board. STM specialists will use telemetric equipment installed on the vehicle to monitor and check a variety of performance indicators, particularly regarding battery range. Equipped with brand new electric technology, this vehicle is the first of its kind in the STM fleet. The testing period will allow STM and Girardin Blue Bird teams to work together to optimize the vehicle’s functioning. It will also be an opportunity for the operations and maintenance teams at the St-Michel bus garage, including drivers and mechanics, to be trained with the vehicle and familiarize themselves with it. The goal is to integrate the minibus effectively, creating the right conditions for it to begin serving customers, while preparing for larger orders in the future.

Towards the electrification of paratransit

Currently, there are 86 minibuses in the STM paratransit fleet. The company’s vision for paratransit is the same as for the rest of its surface network: to acquire only electric vehicles by 2025. The demonstration project will allow the STM to evaluate the impact of electrification on paratransit in terms of planning customer trips, bus garage infrastructure, operational processes, fleet management, maintenance operations and customer experience. It will also allow the company to collect technical data for analysis and decision making regarding the full electrification of the St-Michel bus garage. The STM remains firmly committed to its shift towards electrification and wishes to reiterate that the support of its financial partners is essential to ensuring an efficient large-scale transition.

“Our paratransit service plays an essential role in the lives of our customers by enabling them to get to work, school, leisure activities and medical appointments. That is why it is so important to us that we offer the best possible quality of service and why we are so proud of today’s announcement. Today, we begin a new chapter, full of promise, for our paratransit customers and employees,” concludes Chantal Fortier, Director, Paratransit, STM.

Photos (Crédit : STM - Julien Perron-Gagné)




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