STM to slowly roll out new buses with air conditioning

Starting next summer, your bus commute around the city of Montreal could get a little cooler.

The STM will buy 27 hybrid buses next year, 20 of them with air conditioning

STM chairman Philippe Schnobb says that air conditioning costs $30K per bus. (CBC)

Starting next summer, your bus commute around the city of Montreal could get a little cooler.

STM chairman Philippe Schnobb announced Thursday that the public transit authority will begin to gradually roll out hybrid buses — with air conditioning — in 2016.

"With hybrid buses, we will already have a smaller fuel consumption, we've decided that from now on we will have air conditioning in our new buses," said Schnobb.

Currently, out of the STM's 1700 buses, only 17 have air conditioning. They are all diesel-fuelled buses on the 747 line that goes to Trudeau Airport in Dorval.

Schnobb says that next year, the STM will will buy 27 hybrid buses — 20 of them will have air conditioning, and seven won't.

"We want to be able to compare operation costs of the buses without, and with, air conditioning."

Schnobb said it is not yet known where the buses with air conditioning will be running, but specified that they all need to be parked in the same garage so that maintenance staff with specialized training in hybrid vehicles can be responsible for their upkeep.

"From year to year, people will be able to feel it more because we will be buying 300 or 400 buses in the next three years...So gradually we'll be implementing the air conditioning," Schnobb said.

The cost of air conditioning comes at a price tag of about $30,000 per bus.

"We know that the device itself cost a little bit more than $30,000. In a car you are using it for half an hour or an hour. But in a bus, you are using it for 12 or 16 hours a day, so it has to be a very tough device."

While air conditioning on buses on the island of Montreal will be slowly phased in starting next summer, Schnobb said it won't be coming to the Metro anytime soon.

"The Metro is a closed environment and the air conditioning produces heat. So if we put air conditioning in the Metro trains, that will produce heat in the tunnels. We would have to put air conditioning in the tunnels and then at the stations and that would be very costly," he said, adding that instead money will be invested to improve the Metro's air circulation system.


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