STM - Society in motion
A brand new type of vehicle will soon join the ranks in our fleet of buses sometime in 2013. Indeed, the STM recently awarded a contract to DesignLine USA for the acquisition of seven fully electric midibuses.
With an overall length of 9.28 metres, mid-way between a minibus and a standard bus, these new, low-floor vehicles can carry 45 passengers and are equipped with a low-floor ramp for easier access for anyone with limited mobility. As the STM wants to properly assess this latest acquisition, on-board instruments will also measure their operational performance, and evaluate customer satisfaction.
Thanks to their fully electric engine, these vehicles will enable us to provide a public transit service that is 100% ecological and sustainable. And because the first midibus will be operated in the Old Montréal and Old Port district by the middle of 2013, it will be helping to protect the historic, heritage assets in the area, a favourite among Montrealers and tourists alike. The mid-size bus’ low noise levels should also be appreciated by transit users, as well as by the cyclists and pedestrians who will come across it. The diesel buses currently serving the area will be replaced by mid-size vehicles that produce zero emissions and run more quietly. The other six mid-size buses should be introduced into passenger service by the end of 2013.
Aiming for a 100% electric transit network
I have previously used this blog to speak of the STM’s determination regarding the electrification of its surface transportation network by 2025, as outlined in our 2020 Strategic Plan. Taking delivery of these midibuses is another step in that direction.
Between vehicles using a combustion engine and vehicles with an electric drive, hybrid technology offers an adequate alternative for the transition. The STM will move forward with its acquisition of biodiesel-electric, hybrid drive buses starting in 2013, which should lead to a 30% saving of fuel on average, as well as an equivalent reduction in GHG emissions. Furthermore, the STM initiated a study to produce a report on the deployment of a network of trolleybuses on the island of Montréal, from which an optimal plan will be developed by the end of 2012. Lastly, the STM recently purchased two rechargeable Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric cars so that designated teams can move between different work sites.
And so we are making our way toward a 100% electric network, a commitment that will have an enormous impact on the quality of life of all Montrealers. I take pride in seeing the STM follow this sustainable path.
Over the last few years, the STM has implemented bus priority measures (MPB-mesures préférentielles de bus) in partnership with the city of Montréal by constantly improving on the efficiency, punctuality, and swiftness of transit services. These measures are featured in different ways and provide more efficient bus service:
- Development of reserved lanes: These lanes allow buses to use an exclusive corridor to avoid traffic congestion. The reserved lane network has more than doubled since the MPB program’s inception in 2008. Substantial advantages can be derived by these lanes in relation to punctuality, swiftness, comfort, etc.
- Priority traffic lights in real time: When buses reach an intersection, they automatically receive priority at traffic lights. The green light signal is then lengthened so that buses may continue on their way without having to stop at a red light.
- Priority departure signals (known as candles): When this vertical white rectangle appears on the traffic light display, buses can depart ahead of motorists.
- Bus lines with limited stops: Even if preferential measures for buses do not apply directly to these lines, time gains are enhanced by the combined advantage of buses with limited stops traveling along reserved lane corridors and priority departure signals.
In addition to the deployment of these measures along major public transit arteries, plans include the implementation of bus rapid transit services (on Pie IX and Henri-Bourassa boulevards) and express lines. In 2011, the bus priority measures (MPB) were deployed over 136 kilometres and will stretch to more than 350 kilometres by 2015.
Be there first with reserved bus lanes!
The reserved lane network is constantly expanding. It now covers 119.1 kilometres. With its 24 well-identified lanes, you can make significant time gains and avoid traffic jams on many busy Montréal arteries, especially during morning and evening rush hours. Leave your stress behind and let us drive you: come aboard and choose the lane reserved especially for you!
Good news for West Island residents: new Express bus lines will make your commute easier.
Effective April 2, four new bus lines will provide direct service, from Monday to Friday, between West Island areas and the métro.
Bus lines 405 – Express Bord-du-Lac, 425 – Express Anse-à-l’Orme and 485 – Express Antoine-Faucon will be heading to Lionel-Groulx métro station whereas the 475 – Express Dollard-des-Ormeaux will link the new Dollard-des-Ormeaux Civic Centre Park and Ride lot of 200 spaces to Côte-Vertu métro. The STM is considering opening other parking locations close to Fairview terminus and in Pierrefonds by next fall.
These new lines that will benefit from reserved lane access during the year are part of measures set forth by the STM to alleviate traffic congestion around the Turcot Interchange.
Detailed description of bus lines
• The 405 bus line will travel in both directions to MacDonald Campus every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Kirkland residents will benefit from non-stop service to the métro with the 425 bus line. Bus intervals will vary between 20 to 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the eastbound direction, and from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. heading west. Local 211 Bord-du-Lac customers will be able to choose between two lines either the Express line or the 211.
• The 485 bus line will provide Roxboro-Pierrefonds and Pointe-Claire residents with a direct link to Lionel-Groulx métro station. Bus intervals will vary between 20 to 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in both directions. Service will however be supplemented to 10 minute intervals between Fairview terminus and the métro station from 6 a.m to 9 a.m. in the eastbound direction, and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the westbound direction.
• The 475 bus line will head to Côte-Vertu métro every 15 minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. when going east, and from 3: 30 p.m. to 6: 30 p.m. when heading west.
The combined effect of these new Express lines and reserved lanes will result in time-saving gains of 10 minutes or more over normal travel time along Highway 20. Unlike motorists who face congested road conditions around the Turcot Interchange construction site, you will benefit from dependable travel times.
In spring 2011, more than 6000 people took part in a public consultation to find a name for the next generation of métro cars.
The time has come to choose your favourite one among the five finalist names. And the winners are……
A name for the next métro cars
You have responded by the thousands to our invitation to find a new name for the métro cars.
At present, new métro cars that you will see rolling in 2014 are called MPM-10. It’s not really sexy to be referred to as rubber-tired rolling stock 2010 (Matériel Pneumatique 2010). Consequently, we invited you to suggest names and you have submitted all kinds of ideas. I will be providing you with the final picks so that you may cast your vote on your choice during the next few weeks.
The first choice Azur refers to the colour blue. It is the signature colour of new cars but it has also been part of the métro since the beginning.
The second Véga is a very bright star in the sky. Surely, it recalls the two headlights on the first métro car when it rolls into the station.
The third Kronos is the god of time, an important god. Not so much focused on accuracy, the name suggests that cars will probably be more reliable, and that time is precious.
Zéphyr is a western wind present during the summer in Montréal. South, southwest, it is also the air movement that is felt when the train is rolling into the station. It recalls the power of the métro.
Finally, there’s Boomerang, Boomerang meaning movement. Cars that roll all day, 20 hours every day, all year long.
You may cast your vote from March 8 to 25 on the STM website, STM.info or society in motion.org.
The privilege is yours.