300 hybrid buses to be added to the STM fleet
Published Tuesday, January 9, 2018 12:58PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 9, 2018 10:12PM EST
Montreal’s public transport is about to get a boost.
The Montreal and Quebec governments announced Tuesday that 300 hybrid buses will be added to the STM’s fleet.
The announcement was made along with a call for tender and it remains unclear how much the buses will cost.
"The funding programs are already in place," said Quebec Transport Minister Andre Fortin. "Whether it's the programs to purchase the buses, the programs to help with the cost of maintenance. So no, we're not talking about a new provincial program."
Lionel Perez, the interim leader of Montreal City Hall's official opposition, said he believes the buses will cost more than the estimate of $225 million put forth by Mayor Valerie Plante.
"It raises a lot more questions than it answers about the costs of the buses," he said. "Projet Montreal has indicated $225 million but we're learning there's more additional related costs."
Included in those costs is the price of hiring around 600 new bus drivers and maintenance personnel. STM Chairperson Philippe Schnobb estimated the price tag for the hires at around $75 million per year.
The first of the buses are expected to be delivered by 2020. It will increase buses on Montreal roads to 2107, up from the current 1807. Buses will include features like USB charging stations and air conditioning.
According to Schnobb, all the buses will also be wheelchair-accessible.
Plante and Fortin made the announcement with the STM Tuesday morning. Plante said she was very pleased with the announcement of the larger fleet, one of her campaign promises.
Officials said they are not exactly where the buses will be added to the STM network, but said they see a need in Lachine, Griffintown and Riviere-des-Prairies.
They also did not announce the budget for the new buses, or how the cost for them will be divided among different levels of government.
Schnobb said one snag is finding the garage space to house all the new buses, as the current facility on St-Denis is too small and a new one being built in Rosemont won't be ready until 2022. He said the STM is moving into some larger garages, but are looking for a temporary solution for when the buses are rolled out.