Quebec allots more than $142 million for Société de transport de Laval’s electric bus garage

Work on $246 million building, for a growing electric bus fleet, is set to begin this fall

A more than $142 million subsidy announced by Quebec last week will allow the Société de transport de Laval to increase the size of its future electric bus garage by 50 per cent, while making the project the largest ever undertaken by the transit agency, as well as one of the biggest of its kind in the province.

Seen here on June 22 at STL headquarters are representatives of the transit agency, the City of Laval, including Mayor Stéphane Boyer, the federal government (Vimy MP Annie Koutrakis), and the Quebec government (Sainte-Rose MNA Christopher Skeete). (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Electrification of transit

Sainte-Rose CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete made the announcement to a gathering of STL and City of Laval officials at STL headquarters in the City of Laval’s industrial park on June 22.

“I commend the efforts of the STL, which is mapping out and reorganizing its network in light of several factors in order to make a more ecoresponsible type of mobility available,” said Skeete.

“The government is proud to be able to provide support for the electrification of mass transit in the Laval region,” he continued. “It is the residents who will be benefiting from the improved mobility.”

More power than Place Bell

To get some idea of the magnitude of the undertaking in terms of electricity that will be used, the project will include the addition of a new industrial-capacity electric power entrance to supply 20 megawatts of electricity to recharge the growing fleet of electric buses.

According to Quebec government and STL officials, this is four times the amount of electricity currently needed to power activities at Laval’s Centre Bell multipurpose entertainment venue and arena. The STL’s new garage building will also be highly energy-efficient through a cutting-edge system that recycles heat, with eco-energetic lighting and green roofs.

Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer was understandably very pleased with the provincial government’s announcement of $142 million in funding for the STL’s electric garage project. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Call for tenders launched

The Quebec government’s announcement coincided with the STL’s decision on the same day last week to launch a public call for tenders for a contractor to build the new garage. Work is scheduled to begin this fall. The garage electrification project is being undertaken as the STL and the provincial government continue to try to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by gasoline-powered vehicles.

The eletrification of the STL’s garage will allow the transit authority to add 145 new parking spots for electric buses. Total cost of the project is expected to be $246 million. Besides the $142 million announced by Quebec, the federal government has allotted $85 million, while the City of Laval is budgeting $18 million.

Ottawa also involved

“Our government is investing to electrify transportation in Quebec just as in the rest of the country,” said Vimy Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis, who is Parliamentary Secretary to federal Intergovernmental and Infrastructure Minister Dominic Leblanc. “The STL’s garage enlargement project will allow the City of Laval to take another step towards the electrification of its entire bus fleet, for the benefit of everyone in Laval.”

Beginning in 2025, the STL and other transit authorities across Quebec plan to purchase only electric buses, with support from higher levels of government, when they are acquiring new bus fleets. This is in accordance with an agreement the transit agencies have made with each other. The STL is planning to have a 100 per cent electric bus fleet by the year 2040.

STL general manager Guy Picard. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Project picks up speed

“The arrival of this garage is more than a rumor,” said Mayor Stéphane Boyer. “This new facility will allow us to truly pick up speed with the electrification of our bus fleet in Laval. I point out once again that the government of Quebec shares our vision for the development of a dignified and modern city of the 21st century.”

“Our major electrification project will be transforming how we do business in every way,” said Laval city councillor Jocelyne Frédéric-Gauthier, who is president of the STL. “We are very fortunate to be able to count on our partners to accompany us in this major transformation, which is sure to benefit all our clients and our teams.”

Time line of electrification at the STL

  • 2012: The STL was the first transit authority in Canada to buy a full-length electric bus (40 feet – 12 metres).
  • 2018: The STL – in conjunction with the STM in Montreal – launched a public call for tenders for the supply of 10 slow-charge electric buses.
  • 2019 to 2021: After receiving its first New Flyer electric bus, the STL carried out a series of trial runs on a closed road network.
  • 2020: The STL received nine more electric buses which were put into service during the summer of 2021. Each electric bus keeps 70 to 80 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from going into the atmosphere each year.
  • Fall 2022: Work on the enlargement and electrification of the STL’s garage be starting.