Attention, transit sardines: More buses are on the way.
The city of Montreal on Wednesday approved a plan to buy 967 new buses for the Société de transport de Montréal.
The executive committee passed a bylaw that allows the STM to borrow up to $1.4 billion over the next five years to finance the purchase of the new vehicles.
Between 2019 and 2024, the transit authority plans to buy:
All the vehicles will be air-conditioned.
“It’s going to be a huge leap forward,” STM vice-president Craig Sauvé said in an interview.
“That’s a lot more buses we can ship out to parts of Montreal where they are most needed. If we’re seeing a line that needs more service because people are packed like sardines and there’s just not enough service at rush hour, these buses will help so much.”
He said one route that may benefit is the 105-Sherbrooke, “which is just packed all the time.”
The purchases will include the extra 300 that Mayor Valerie Plante’s Projet Montréal promised to add by 2020 during the election campaign.
Thanks to the new vehicles, there will be 16 per cent more buses on Montreal streets by 2020, with the fleet going from the current 1,807 to 2,107, Sauvé added.
Of the 963 regular sized buses (12-meters long), 498 will replace older diesel buses as they are taken off the road. The STM normally keeps buses for 16 years.
The remaining 465 regular-sized buses will be used to add capacity to current bus routes and to create new ones, Sauvé said.
Four of the all-electric buses will be used to turn the 36 Monk route into the STM’s first all-electric line in 2019.
Some of the additional buses could be added to routes that will use future reserved bus lanes.
“It’ll be great to have new buses and to have more service to show people what the difference is. So when we deploy new bus lanes we can deploy good service along with it. We want to pair those together.”
Sauvé said part of the new fleet could also be used to add service along lines that serve the new Réseau express métropolitain light-rail network, part of which is due to start carrying passengers in 2021.
The foursmaller buses (nine meters) will replace diesel slightly-smaller mini buses. The new vehicles, to be delivered this year, will be used on the 212 Ste-Anne route on the West Island, Sauvé said.
He said there are no plans to buy more articulated buses (18-meters long) in the near future.
The STM will not necessarily spend all $1.4 billion it is allowed to borrow, Sauvé said.
He said the provincial government has agreed to help finance the purchase of some of the new buses, but details have not been worked out yet.