Montreal to add 300 hybrid buses to its fleet in 2020

Mayor Valérie Plante announced Tuesday the city will be adding 300 hybrid buses in 2020, which would bring the Société de Transport de Montréal's (STM) fleet up to 2,107.

Mayor Valérie Plante pledged more buses during municipal campaign to help ease transit woes

The additional buses will bring the Société de Transport de Montréal's fleet up to 2,107. ( Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

Montreal public transit users can expect to see more hybrid buses out on the road by the end of 2020.

Mayor Valérie Plante announced Tuesday the city will be adding 300 hybrid buses by December 2020, which would bring the Société de transport de Montréal's (STM) fleet up to 2,107. 

It was one of the key promises made by Plante during her campaign in a bid to tackle transit problems within the city. The announcement comes one day before Plante will table her administration's first budget.

Plante said public transit users will benefit from more efficient bus service as a result of the new buses.

"We know it will encourage public transit," she said at the announcement. "We'll see an increase of 15 per cent for public transit use, which is huge."

Montreal and the Quebec government will jointly fund the project and will launch an open call for tenders.

They have not released a cost estimate, but Projet Montréal had pegged the total at $225 million when it made the promise during Plante's campaign.

Valérie Plante said she was excited about making the announcement after having made adding 300 STM buses a campaign promise. (CBC)

"This investment will make our city a leader in environmental protection and sustainable development," said Transport Minister André Fortin.

He added that the new hybrid buses will help save up to 30 per cent in fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Montreal opposition leader Lionel Perez said adding the buses was a welcome announcement.

"It's something that everybody wants," he said, but added that the announcement itself "raises more questions than it really answers."

Perez said Plante and STM chair Philippe Schnobb should have waited until they could say how much the project would cost before making the announcement. 

He also questioned whether it would prompt an increase in fares.

Major review of network

Schnobb said he isn't yet sure what areas of the city the buses will serve but that the public transit authority is doing a "major review" of the network.

"We can't say exactly where, but we know that some areas need more service like Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles, Lachine, and Griffintown," he said.

Those needs will be taken into account when it comes to both future investments and where the new buses will roll out, he said.

The provincial government is also working on a number of projects to bolster Montreal's public transit system, said Fortin. There was no discussion of Plante's proposed Pink line.

Quebec's priority will be the extension of the Blue line, he said.

With files from CBC's Sudha Krishnan