STM to spend $800M on renovating, expanding bus depots
Renovations will help to maintain and operate 300 new hybrid buses that the city intends to purchase
Montreal's public transit agency says it plans to invest $800 million on the expansion and renovation of its bus depots.
The five renovation projects are necessary, the STM says, in order to help to maintain and operate 300 new hybrid buses that are expected to be on the road by the end of 2020.
"The addition of 300 buses will help to make sure our network is efficient," STM chair Philippe Schnobb told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
Those buses will increase the total fleet by 15 per cent, to 2,107.
Along with the new buses, 600 new employees will be hired and the STM's annual operating budget will increase by an estimated $75 million.
5 renovation projects
As part of the renovation plans, five projects will be completed. They include the purchase, renovation and expansion of various transport centres across Montreal.
- The Saint-Denis transport centre, located in the Rosemont area, will be replaced by a new centre called the Bellechasse transport centre that's expected to be in service by 2022. Estimated cost: $242 million.
- The Saint-Denis transport centre, which houses 180 vehicles, will be renovated to remain in operation until the opening of the Bellechasse centre in 2022. Estimated cost: $19.4 million.
- Another new transportation centre is expected to be commissioned by 2023, and will accommodate 250 electric vehicles. Estimated cost: $370 million.
- Three existing centres — Anjou, Legendre and Saint-Laurent — will be expanded, and their capacity will be increased to 150 buses in 2020. Estimated cost: $165 million.
- An industrial building next to the Stinson transport centre, near Côte-Vertu Metro Station, will be adapted and rented for five years by the STM. It will accommodate 50 regular buses. Estimated cost: $5 million.
City relying on Quebec's wallet
Though the STM ensured the purchase of new buses would be funded through the various existing government assistance programs for public transit, the city's official opposition expressed doubt about whether those programs will cover the entire cost.
"We must say who will pay these additional amounts: the taxpayers of Montreal and Quebec," said Lionel Perez, head of Ensemble Montréal.
"That is not justified in these circumstances."
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Tuesday she recognizes that adding 15 per cent more buses to the current network would involve significant expenses, but she assured that Quebec would chip in.
"We can't forget that when Quebec City agreed to finance some of the 300 hybrid buses, they knew we would need garages."
The purchase of the hybrid buses was one of Plante's municipal election campaign promises.
It was confirmed in January, when the call for tenders was issued. Submissions are currently being reviewed.
Translated from Radio-Canada, with files from CBC Montreal Daybreak