Public transit on the way to electrification in Quebec

Despite the pandemic and a still significant drop in ridership in 2021, the Capital Transportation Network (RTC) has a balanced budget of $ 250.2 million for 2022 and continues its effort to electrify and diversify its offer. Services.

Starting next year, the RTC will quadruple its fleet of self-service electric bicycles. Close relative to the Montreal Bixi, the à Vélo network set up in 2021 will then have 40 stations and 400 bicycles.

The Flexibuses will also make their appearance in the landscape of Quebec and its periphery. The RTC intends to deploy this new on-demand transport service in the northern periphery of its territory, namely in Notre-Dame-des-Laurentides, Saint-Émile, Lac-Saint-Charles, Val-Bélair, Loretteville, Montmorency and Wendake.

Together, these two new services will cost RTC $ 2.7 million in 2022.

In 2022, Quebec plans to inject $ 284.1 million into its tramway. An update on possible cost overruns is promised for January.

Towards electrification

Starting next year, Quebec will begin its conversion to a fleet of electric buses by testing three buses manufactured in Quebec by Nova Bus, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group. Expected at the end of 2022, these buses, leased and fully electric, will be tested for three years. At the end of this deadline, the purchase by tender of the electric buses must begin.

The RTC, like other transportation companies in Quebec, must electrify its facilities under the Plan for a Green Economy 2030 presented in 2020 by the Legault government. It forecasts a 37.5% drop in its GHG emissions by 2030 compared to those of 1990.

The electrification of transportation, which is responsible for 43% of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in Quebec, is the centerpiece of this sustainable strategy.

Premier Legault is planning $ 5 billion to help transport companies acquire electric buses. The RTC plans to procure 200 fully electric buses by 2030 at an estimated cost of $ 550 million.

The network plans to inject $ 144 million, by 2031, into the establishment of the Capital Express Network. Concretely, these sums will be used for the creation of reserved lanes and preferential signage for public transport, as well as for the deployment of Parc-o-Bus.

Over the past two years, the Québec transport network has acquired 150 hybrid buses, a measure that has enabled it to reduce its fuel consumption by 9% in 2021.

Quebec Saving Aid

The budget presented Thursday by the Capital Transportation Network avoids being written in red ink thanks to emergency aid of $ 19.7 million. The RTC is also counting on an increase in ridership to increase revenues from its users by $ 8 million in 2022.

The network expects to regain 80% of the attendance observed before the pandemic. The RTC had made the same prediction for 2021, missing its target, with peak attendance rarely exceeding 60% in the coming year.

“Before the pandemic, the RTC, we were on fire”, underlines its general manager, Alain Mercier, who takes up the scale of the current challenge, with a considerable shortfall to be expected. “Even today, the losses are significant. “

The board of directors of the RTC has yet to study the tariffs in effect in 2022. A price increase is not excluded.

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