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New navigation system supposed to improve STM metro service

Click to play video: 'More investments planned for Montreal Metro’s Blue line'
More investments planned for Montreal Metro’s Blue line
WATCH: A major public transit investment is being planned that is supposed to vastly improve public transit Montreal’s metro system. More than $500 million has been earmarked for the Blue line. Eventually the new technology will be extended to the entire metro system. Global's Tim Sargeant reports. – Jan 23, 2023

A new radio communications system for Montreal’s STM blue metro line is supposed to vastly improve public transit service by 2028.

Communications-based train control (CBTC) is a navigation system that uses frequencies between cars to better determine the train’s exact location. The technology is already used on many transit systems around the world and it’s designed to determine each train line’s precise location, distance between trains and speed.

The smart system can help track the movement of trains, increase frequency and improve reliability.

“The communication-based train control is like the nervous system and brain in each train,” Éric Alan Caldwell, the STM president, said at a press conference.

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The current navigation system of the STM is decades old and considered out dated.

The Quebec government, the STM and the City of Montreal are spending a combined $565 million to implement CBTC on the STM’s blue line by 2028.

”It brings us in the 21st century,” Caldwell said.

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Plans are in the works to extend the blue metro line to Anjou by 2029, adding five additional stops.  Officials want to use the expansion opportunity to upgrade the STM navigation system as the blue line line is extended and the new stations are built.

”We have to be there for the blue line extension because we cannot run on the old system,” Caldwell said.

Some other public transit systems that carry more than one million passengers a day, such as in New York, London and Madrid, have been using CBTC for years.

Montreal’s metro system also carries more than one million passengers a day.

Officials say it’s time the STM catches up.

”It’s the technology of all new metros in the world,” Marie-Claude Léonard, STM CEO, told Global News.

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The plan is to extend CBTC to the entire STM metro network but no timeline or price tag has been determined.

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