MONTREAL -- The Laval Transport Society (STL) has a new fleet of electric buses on the road.

After using hybrid vehicles for almost a decade, 100 per cent of the city's buses will soon be electric, helping citizens get around Laval safely and cleanly. They say it’s a Quebec first.

“What we have is the first large-range electric buses, with a range of 250 kilometres and it's with overnight charging in the garage,” said STL spokesperson Eric Morasse. “It’s the first large-range model in the province of Quebec."

The overnight charging can be complemented with a quick plug-in point at the terminus when the bus docks in between routes, or when the driver takes a break. Morasse said being eco-responsible is part of the STL's vision for the future. 

“For the environment, for the quality of our customers, the new electric buses are quiet and less noisy," he said. 

Three electric buses are already en route in Laval and seven more will hit the road soon. Each New Flyer-model bus is manufactured in Manitoba and means a reduction of 70  to 80 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. The STL says they are also saving money on fuel and maintenance costs with the new fleet in place.

"It's a very smooth drive," said driver Marc Lecavalier, who has been on the road for the STL for 12 years. “It's really fun to drive, a lot smoother and quieter than the old buses. The customers like it a lot.”

Lecavalier explained that the rumble of the diesel motor of the older buses made for more vibrations in the vehicle, something he does not miss at all.

“I don't feel the vibration as much as the old buses.”

All the STL buses can lower to the sidewalk to allow mobility-reduced passengers easier access.

The STL wants everyone to be able to get onboard with their public transit and are offering some of the most vulnerable a free ride. Working with three shelters in Laval, they now offer free, accessible transport to disabled women and their children who are fleeing domestic violence. According to Morasse, the campaign is also the first of its kind in the province. 

Justine Gendron of the Laval Adapted Transport Association worked with the STL to make this campaign happen. She said it’s the responsible thing to do.

“It's their mission to make sure that every citizen has the right to take transport, has the right to ride in security and to be safe and so I think it's amazing," she said. "But at the same time, I really think it's the mission of the society of transports all around Quebec to make sure that this kind of service is available for all citizens.”