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  1. STM plans to build solar-powered bus shelters Panels could be used to power lighting * and illuminate revenue-producing ads By Monique Beaudin, The GazetteFebruary 2, 2009 Montreal’s public-transit agency is planning to spend $14.4 million to buy 400 new bus shelters – some of which would use solar panels to provide electricity. The new shelters need an energy source to allow the Société de transport de Montréal to use new tools to provide customer service and advertising. In some cases the shelters would be powered by solar energy, in others the shelters would be linked into a local source of electricity. Several other cities – including London, Vancouver and Toronto – already have bus shelters that use solar panels to charge batteries that power their lighting systems. Blainville, north of Mont-real, put up four such shelters in October and plans to replace all its bus shelters with solar-powered ones by 2010, said spokesperson Yves Meunier. Blainville’s plan was to make their bus shelters self-financing, by using revenue generated from selling advertising in the shelters. For that they needed an energy source to illuminate the ads. “People selling advertising want the ads to be visible for a certain number of hours every day, especially during the winter,” Meunier said. Blainville’s bus shelters – which cost about $30,000 each – were designed and built by a local firm, Meunier said. The city will recycle the old shelters by selling them to other municipalities, he added. The STM also expects that by selling ad space in its new shelters they’ll pay for themselves over a 10-year period. While the STM has already tested several different kinds of solar-powered bus shelters, spokesperson Isabelle Tremblay said the agency hasn’t chosen a specific bus shelter model to buy yet. The transit agency is still waiting for the results of a bus-shelter design contest announced by Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay last September. Tremblay called on the city’s designers to come up with new ideas for five things – the Champs de Mars métro station, the eastern wall of the courthouse, bus shelters, taxis and temporary festival furniture. Design Montreal has not yet launched the contest, spokesperson Stéphanie Jecrois said yesterday. The agency is still meeting with its partners to determine how the contest will work, but she said the contest details should be announced with a few weeks. The contest will be held in 2009, she said. Meanwhile, at the STM, Tremblay said the agency will only go to tender for new bus shelters after the Design Montreal contest wraps up. The STM now has 2,977 bus shelters, serving about one-third of its bus stops. It would like to install 100 new bus shelters over the next two years, and 100 more each year from 2011 to 2013. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette