Well a mere 52 years after destroying the Montreal Streetcar/Trolley's ,they (the powers that be) are considering replacing some bus routes with trolley cars again....why because it's cheaper ,cleaner & more efficient ( the same reasons basically that they got rid of them)
MONTREAL - The 105 bus line on Sherbrooke St. in Notre Dame de Grâce may be the most suited for trolley buses, a mode of transit that could transform the face of some Montreal streets in the years to come.
The 105 was at the top of a preliminary analysis highlighted in a Société de transport de Montréal document prepared for consultants bidding to conduct a trolley bus study.
The STM is considering converting some diesel bus lines to less polluting, quieter, more comfortable trolley buses. The catch: they would require overhead electrical wires for power. The STM is mulling a plan to buy 100 to 150 articulated trolley buses.
Trolley buses, which plied Montreal streets between 1937 and 1966, are somewhere between regular diesel buses and tramways – they run on rubber tires but are electric.
The 105, used by 17,000 passengers daily, links the Vendôme métro station and Concordia University’s Loyola Campus in western N.D.G.
The preliminary analysis looked at only a handful of factors, such as bus frequency and current ridership, and the STM says further study may push the 105 down the list of potential trolley bus lines. Fourteen other routes are to be studied.
The study about to be launched is to be completed by December 2012.
It will look at several factors, such as the route’s proximity to a trolley bus maintenance facility that would have to be built, the line’s potential for ridership growth, the configuration of streets along routes, and the backing of local elected officials.
STM president Michel Labrecque told The Gazette the network could be up and running by 2015 or 2016.
But he stressed the process is at an early stage and nothing has been decided.
The STM is also looking at newer technology that could allow for the electrification of bus lines without the need for overhead wires, Labrecque said. Some emerging technologies allow electric-bus batteries to be recharged at stops, at either end of bus lines or overnight in garages.
The tramways envisaged by Mayor Gérald Tremblay have been temporarily shelved because of their high cost, Labrecque said. Though pricey, tramways could carry more passengers and would provide an added cachet to public transit, the city says.
But “we’re going to have to figure out how to finance tramways,” Labrecque said.
The city has said a 12.5-kilometre tramway route linking downtown, Old Montreal and Côte des Neiges would cost about $750 million.
The coming study will determine the cost of bringing trolley buses to Montreal.
In Laval, a study last year suggested it would cost $300 million to set up a 42-kilometre trolley bus network.
The biggest expenses: electrical infrastructure ($106 million), the cost of 39 trolleys and required land ($58 million) and facilities such as a trolley garage ($32 million).
Laval set aside trolley buses in favour of more study of new electric-bus technology.
Trolley could be a first step toward electrifying the STM’s above-ground network (the métro is already electric), Labrecque said.
The STM has said it will only buy electric buses by 2025, as it strives to cut pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions. But electric buses are still in their infancy, while trolley buses rely on proven technology used around the world since the early 1900s.
Trolley buses are more expensive than diesel buses but last longer, are cheaper to operate and require less maintenance, the STM says.
Disadvantages include the esthetics of overhead wires and the cost to build the required electrical network.
The STM has said trolley buses would have their own reserved lanes. The study will look at how much parking would disappear, what kind of preferential treatment the trolley buses would have on streets and the impact of other traffic.
It will also consider how the technology would fare in Montreal winters and in ice storms.
In the tender document, the STM says an early analysis indicates the 105 Sherbrooke bus got the best score (85 per cent). The next four routes on the list got scores of between 60 per cent to 66 per cent: 24-Sherbrooke, 139-Pie IX, 121 Sauvé-Côte Vertu and 69 Gouin.
The first set of trolley buses would be articulated and 18 metres long, the same length as the STM’s current diesel articulated buses. The STM document says 24-metre-long “double articulated” trolley buses could be added later.
Ahmed El-Geneidy, a public transit expert at McGill’s School of Urban Planning, says trolley buses would be a good fit for Montreal, which has access to cheap, relatively clean electricity.
Trolleys are much cheaper than tramways because they do not require streets to be dug up, he noted.
El-Geneidy said trolleys would make transit more attractive and comfortable because they are quieter and create less vibration.
Electric buses, while avoiding the need for overhead wires, require batteries manufactured in an unsustainable way, he noted. It would make more sense to adopt trolley buses that use electricity directly off the grid, El-Geneidy said.
Trolleys have auxiliary power units that use natural gas or diesel, allowing them to move around impediments such as collisions and stalled buses, he noted.
“Some people won’t like the way they look from an esthetic standpoint” because of the overhead wires, El-Geneidy said.
But any new trolley bus network should be about more than stringing up wires over roadways, he added. It should be part of an urban-renewal project that would revitalize streets. That means installing new lighting and street furniture, he said.
Popular in Europe and Asia, only one trolley bus network remains in Canada: Greater Vancouver has about 260 trolley buses. In the U.S., several trolley networks are in place, with the biggest in San Francisco and Seattle.
Some cities with harsh winters rely on trolley buses. Moscow has one of the biggest trolley bus network in the world
they could look like this example,which is in operation in Vancouver as we speak...HF&RV