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.