STM - Society in motion
From 1861 to 1959, the STM operated and maintained a fleet of more than 939 electric tramways that travelled the streets of Montréal. At its height, in 1933, the tramway network extended over 510 kilometres of tracks. Remnants can still be found, for example, under the pavement along René-Lévesque Boulevard. Decades after the network was dismantled to make way for the new king of the road, the car, the possibility of once again seeing tramways in the streets of Montréal is closer than ever.
Send me your ideas, your reactions, your questions.
I will respond to them, one by one, during our live conversation, next October 30, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
During the Strategic Forum on Transportation held last June, Michel Labrecque, Chairman of the STM Board of Directors, explained the steps involved in the acquisition of the future métro cars. He also outlined the economic impact of this project on Greater Montréal.
The event today is, I think, very important for Montréal, very important for the public in general, because it shows that when we set our minds to it, our projects can move forward. .
The project is well underway, it was a long-awaited project, one for which the mayor of Montréal fought, negotiated, sparred and even pleaded for 10 years so that we could get our new métro cars. It’s a project of about 2.5 billion dollars. The cars take up about half of that amount, complete details are on our website. Add to that all the infrastructure and equipment, of course, like our maintenance shops at Youville, for small repairs, will be refurbished, all related contracts, and costs related to the cars, tools, spare parts, benchmark tests, simulators and the project bureau that oversees it all and ensures the project stays on time, on budget, including carrying charges, and on scope. .
And it’s a huge project for the Montréal metropolitan area. I say metropolitan area because, in terms of financing, once again the mayor was quite firm during discussions, the metro is considered a metropolitan infrastructure. It is no longer viewed as only serving Montrealers, like back when Mr. Drapeau and Mr. Saulnier had borrowed 232 million dollars from the financial market in New York to build 363 cars and 26 stations in 1963. The entire metropolitan area benefits from the metro, and so its costs should be shared. If you are an STM customer, a Montrealer, a motorist with, I hope, only one car in your household, you contribute in several ways, because you contribute through your property taxes, when buying transit fares, so Montrealers contribute to the project. .
People say that a métro car costs a fortune, at 2.54 million dollars, so I asked my team to calculate how much a small Honda Civic costs. Me, I don’t have one, I don’t even have a drivers’ license. They relied on numbers provided by CAA and they concluded that it cost 6 cents per passenger/kilometre. A metro car, they calculated, like the MR-63 will run for 50 years and on average it transports 25, sometimes 90 passengers, a bit less during the evenings. Each car will travel more than 5 million kilometres, so in the end, it is 60 times less expensive than your car per kilometre and per passenger. So, a metro car does not cost much for the usage we get out of it. .
In fact, the Honda Civic you see there is the most sold card in Québec and it is made over there, in Ontario. And the gas, I’m not sure that all the gas that goes into a Honda Civic comes from Algeria, so it comes from oil pumped elsewhere. And as the vice-president of Hydro-Québec said, our trade balance is showing a big deficit, in terms of oil and cars. None of the cars we all purchase are even made here. .
The Bombardier-Alstom consortium is here in Québec, with Bombardier in La Pocatière, and Alstom that opened a plant in Sorel, that’s 1900 direct jobs created, 3000 indirect jobs. The metro cars are built with 60% of Canadian products and they will be made of materials that can be recycled at the end of their service life. And it’s 100% electric. Half of all passenger rides currently taken with public transit in Québec are powered by electricity. Out of 560 million passenger rides, some 280 million are taken aboard electric vehicles. We tend to forget that. .
All around the world, there are billions of passenger rides taken every day, with electric modes of public transit, like tramways, subways, commuter trains, aboard fast trains, high-speed trains, with wire systems or not. We forget that in the world of public transit, technological advances can occur quite rapidly because of existing systems that are already in place, because we can hook up to an overhead wire, because we have rapid charging technology, and those are not negligible when taking things into account. .It’s so important that we understand that we can do exceptional things together. Exceptional, what does that mean? It means that when we encourage people to use public transportation, they always answer “Yes, but it has to be more comfortable, it has to be more user-friendly”, that’s exactly what we’re doing. And when we invest in modernizing public transit, we contribute to Québec’s economic vitality. .
On October 5, 2010, the Premier of Québec confirmed the awarding of the contract to La Pocatière, saying that we had to reach a one-on-one agreement backed by a bill that was unanimously adopted by members of the National Assembly, we had to agree on the basic terms of the contract that had gone through a long negotiation process with the Bombardier-Alstom consortium. We quickly signed. The contract had been well negotiated by our team of negotiators, by Mr. Devin, by all the people working on the project. So, 2 or 3 weeks later, we signed the contract with representatives from Bombardier, Alstom, Mr. Devin, our Chief Executive Officer at the time, Mrs. Barbe and Mr. Hamad. .
In-house consultation, I will give you a very specific example. The STM, in its 2020 plan and its new approach, has decided to involve customers and Mr. Côté kept saying “customers, customers, customers, we have to think about them every day”. So we consulted our employees, everyone closely or remotely involved with the métro to see about the best cars we could make. We consulted outside, our customers, we asked them to come see the mock-ups, to imagine how they would use them, to share their comments and suggestions for improvement. We held consultations about universal access with people with limited or impaired mobility, with wheelchairs, where to position them, how to enter. We even held consultations with the public at large through the internet, by asking people which exterior colour scheme, which exterior appearance they preferred, and we got 30,000 responses, and their choice, option 1, was chosen by the majority. .
For the name, we held another consultation, and 6000 people suggested names. We opted for AZUR, a Persian word that survived through ancient Arabic, modern Arabic, Spanish and finally French, with lapis lazuli, and which meant “beautiful object” for poets like Mallarmé and Baudelaire. .
At the plant, a model car was built and it allows our teams to oversee the final product. The ground-breaking for the Alstom plant in Sorel is done, Mr. Devin was there. Alstom is responsible for the bogies. We’ve got a dynamic duo with the combination of Bombardier and Alstom for that product, major manufacturers world-wide. .
Work is also being done at the Youville shops, because as I was telling you, it’s not only about the cars. The metro cars, that’s 1.2 billion dollars, plus parts, but this is an investment of some 300 million dollars. So the work has started, it’s going well, it’s very complicated because we are still running the metro at the same time. .
Production of the first train is in accordance with the costs and schedule outlined in the contract. Of all the contracts with Transport Québec, we are within the cost estimates. The cost of this contract is closely monitored and the production schedule is adhered to. .
The project team involved in this, dozens if not hundreds of men and women, electrical, mechanical, industrial and civil engineers, all the different trades assigned to maintenance, electromechanical workers, computer specialists, train operators, training officers… the whole project team has been there for years and will still be there for many years to come and I’ll tell you why. This is the 2013 timetable, with the delivery of the first train for testing in our network. In 2014, the train will be put into passenger service, followed by 12 trains, or roughly one each month. .
Thank you to Transport Québec for allowing us to carry out, I would even say, renovate Montréal, because that is exactly what we are doing. We are renovating Montréal and, of course, this is perhaps causing some inconvenience in the short term. But when you reach my age, you can say to yourself that you were there when we renovated Montréal, and we are so pleased with everything that was accomplished. .
As an equivalent to the increased number of trains we will have compared to those we are replacing, we’ll have an additional 126 cars. We would have to replace that by 500, 600 even 700 buses, in terms of passenger capacity and speed, as a way of illustrating the metro’s performance. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time and it’s at the core of our strategic plan for 2020. .
So, with AZUR, the future is in sight. Thank you all very much. .
Thanks to you, 1700 saplings have been planted in an area of Angrignon Park in Montréal!
Last year, 851 tons were collected from métro recycling stations to be recycled. In cooperation with the free newspaper 24 Heures, a mountain of paper was transformed into trees. A group of STM and 24 Heures employees along with their gardening tools joined in the first planting of trees and shrubs.
With the support of the Héritage Laurentien organization, the operation consisted in replacing buckthorn shrubs (an exotic and invasive plant) with a variety of indigenous plants found in Montréal’s natural habitats to restore biodiversity.
Thank you, every deed counts for the planet!
Tree planting at ANGRIGNON PARK, September 29
In partnership with 24h and in cooperation with Héritage Laurentien
-“We’re going to plant trees! “
Member of the STM Board of Directors
“Today, it is really a wonderful activity, because you know, at the Société de transport de Montréal (the STM), we are committed, we have a sustainable development plan. We are also partners with Québecor, they distribute newspapers in our métro stations and we recycle them. We have collected 850 tons in 2011”.
Vice-President 24 Heures newspaper
“For every newspaper recycled by customers, our readers, we have 850 tons that will be transformed into 1 700 trees“.
Chief Executive Officer, volunteer Héritage Laurentien
“ We are going to take inventory, but I’m pretty sure that we have planted about 1 000 saplings today. Mission accomplished by the community thanks to the partnership and volunteer support of STM employees”.
Next September 21 and 22, the Go Green Event – Ride and Save along McGill College Avenue is planning quite a surprise for you …
Come discover the Montréal metro’s future car by walking through a full-size model, with its modern, streamlined look, better lighting and greater comfort.
In the meantime, for anyone unable to attend this week’s event, here is a replay of the car’s unveiling last June during the Strategic Forum on Transportation.