Plante administration unveils plan to increase electric transportation in Montreal
MONTREAL -- Calling it an "essential tool" to reach carbon neutrality, the Plante administration unveiled a $885-million strategy Monday aimed at increasing electric transportation in the City of Montreal through buses, bicycles and cars.
The strategy is part of the city’s 2020-2030 climate plan and aims to "promote the increase and diversification of sustainable, integrated, affordable and accessible transportation," according to a news release.
"There will be setting up our first green parking meters. We are unveiling 66 parking spots over 34 sites throughout city, encouraging boroughs to have preferential parking fees for electric cars and adding 600 charging stations and 60 fast-charging over three years," said Mayor Valérie Plante.
Part of the goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, said Plante.
Working with nearly 50 partners, the Plante administration said it will focus for the next two years on solutions to decarbonize public transit, individual transportation, shared mobility and freight transportation.
That city will work with the public transit authority, the STM, to electrify its bus fleet and garages, as well as in major projects including the extension of the Montreal metro’s blue line.
The plan also aims to add to the number of electric BIXIs on the road to 2,100, an increase of 200 electric bikes, and have them available in all 19 boroughs. A total of 725 new electric BIXIs were added to the bike sharing network in 2021, representing more the 20 per cent of the fleet, the city said.
The city also plans to install 1,000 new electric Level 2 vehicle public charging stations by the end of 2025, doubling its current offering. The city said it is also working with Hydro-Quebec to install more quick-charge stations, and will support businesses who want to set up charging stations at their offices.
The City of Montreal said it also plans to replace all sub-compact municipal vehicles at the end of their lifespan with similar electric models. Electric models or more environmentally-friendly vehicles will also be favoured when replacing other municipal vehicles.
Plante said the strategy shows Montrealers “that the environment is an issue that is dear to us and that we are taking concrete action to achieve the targets we have set ourselves, notably carbon neutrality by 2050.”
The strategy “allows us to look to the future with optimism, because the ecological transition also involves strengthening electromobility," she said.
The STM committed in 2013 to only purchasing electric buses beginning in 2025, but with a municipal election on the horizon, independent city councillor Marvin Rotrand, who vice-chaired the transit commission, thinks more needs to be done.
“Last time was (the metro’s proposed) pink line, diagonal metro that disappeared, this time around, what they are doing is reannouncing bus purchases and bus garages which they already announced before. There isn't really much there,” he said.
Mobility analyst Andreanne Brazeau, who works with climate change and environment organization Equiterre, though, said she was impressed with the plan.
"What's interesting about this strategy is that it focuses on alternatives to solo driving: fewer cars on the road, whether electric or not. These ambitious targets and measures for electrifying shared mobility, public transit and active transportation are excellent news," she said.
Francois Pepin, chairman of Trajectoire Quebec, a non-profit organization that advocates for public transit, also welcomed the plan after concerns low ridership during the pandemic would lead to budget cuts for the STM.
"The main thing is, short term, you need to keep the budget intact for the STM if you want people to go back and use transit after the pandemic," he said.
- With files from CTV News Montreal's Ian Wood