Trolleybuses in Laval?

Benoit LeBlanc
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STL and Hydro-Québec launch feasibility study

The Société de Transport de Laval (STL) and Hydro-Québec will conduct a feasibility study for a system of trolleybuses for Laval island. These urban transportation vehicles which run on tires but are powered by an electric motor, would run along de la Concorde, des Laurentides, Curé-Labelle, and Notre Dame boulevards.

The trolleybuses could replace part of the current bus fleet on these major Laval arteries. Under normal conditions, the turn-around period for delivery of these buses is 18-24 months following the issuing of a purchase order. "Trolleybuses are presently operating in Russia, New Zealand and the United States. The infrastructures required are relatively light and can be installed faster than tramway (streetcar) systems, and in keeping with the principal objective of significantly contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases," explained STL Chairman Jean-Jacques Beldié, at the March 16 Laval city hall press conference announcing the project.

While costs for a trolley system exceed those of tramways (streetcars), the lower noise level and durability of trolley buses are advantages that make this kind of public transit an attractive proposition.

Similar public transit networks in Rome (Italy) Lausanne (Switzerland), Lyon (France) and Vancouver are only a small portion of the 340 trolley systems now in use throughout the world.


Trolleybus systems fall between conventional diesel-powered or hybrid buses and tramways which also run on electric power supplied by overhead contact lines. While these trolleybuses run on electricity picked up by a pair of long poles located on the roof of the vehicle, they run on conventional tires, unlike streetcars which although similarly powered by electric motors, run on rails.

"The electrification of ground-level public transit is one of our major objectives and the starting point of this (feasibility) study. We are prepared to absorb the full costs of the installation of electrical equipment required by the trolleybuses, an expense amounting to tens of millions of dollars," indicated Hydro-Québec president and CEO, Thierry Vandal.

Quebec government weighs in

The Quebec Ministry of Transport is kicking in $250,000 to the feasibility study, through its aid to public transit program contained in the government's Policy on Public Transit launched in 2006.

"We're hoping this initiative finds its way into other Quebec cities. Discussions are currently underway with other major public transit corporations in the province," noted Claude Béchard, Quebec Minister of Natural Resources and Fauna. "Now that we're anxious to see the first trolleybus lines in Laval, we're impatient to see them in Montreal as well," added Normand Parisien, director-general of Transport 2000.

Organisations: Hydro-Québec, The Quebec Ministry of Transport, Quebec Minister of Natural Resources

Lieux géographiques: Laval, New Zealand, United States Quebec Rome Lausanne Lyon France Vancouver Montreal

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Derniers commentaires

    26 mai 2010 - 09:11

    LAVAL, March 17, 2009 TROLLEYBUS IN OUR CITY We read and heard of this declaration made by our current administration with great SURPRISE and ASTONISHMENT. The PARTI au SERVICE du CITOYEN, the only opposition in Laval, has the respect of world environmental standards at heart, and hesitates to believe that bringing back the TROLLEYBUS is the best alternative to our public transit system, which has been the subject of serious criticism from our citizens. Our current public transit system does not meet the needs of Laval’s residents, and we believe that money should be invested in innovative projects designed to improve service for our citizens. From an aesthetic point of view, let’s not forget that this type of project will entail the suspension of wires criss-crossing in midair. The commercial arteries mentioned in their project are among the city’s most important thoroughfares, what will be the impact of such a project for the streets’ merchants? Will these merchants be forced to shut down their businesses due to lack of parking spaces for their customers? The PARTI au SERVICE du CITOYEN, in addition to reviewing our public transit system in its entirety, will SUGGEST to all LAVAL CITIZENS, during the next municipal elections, the creation of a QUICK, EFFICIENT, and QUIET EAST–WEST connection that will, ABOVE ALL, respect the KYOTO protocol. WE will implement a double track TRAMWAY in the centre of autoroute 440, and this EAST-WEST connection will be linked to the current NORTH-SOUTH TRAIN (Blainville), the Deux-Montagnes train passing through Ste-Dorothée as well as the future connection in the East (Mascouche). This type of public transit will propel the city of Laval to the level of other international cities, such as Nice, Dublin, Barcelona and Milan. The PARTI au SERVICE du CITOYEN is concerned with the capacity to pay of its CITIZENS, but is especially concerned with their actual needs. A TRAMWAY represents 1/5th the cost of a metro, but we will wait for this project’s feasibility results to be available, however we believe that the TROLLEYBUS will be more expensive than the cost of our proposed TRAMWAY. Finally, a TRAMWAY service is and will be AESTHETICALLY MORE PLEASING than a bunch of suspended wires and poles.