Montreal Metro and Electric School Buses


Electric-powered vehicles are becoming more and more common. While not perfect, which may be caused by a lack of infrastructure, i.e., charging points, these vehicles are the way of the future.

One drawback that affects pedestrians more than drivers is the lack of noise. Ask anyone who has stepped off a curb only to have a silent electric car driver honk, scaring the pedestrian on several levels. It seems a simple enough problem to solve. Just look at the natural gas issue.

Ask anyone who has stepped off a curb only to have a silent electric car driver honk, scaring the pedestrian on several levels

Natural gas has no smell. Exposure to natural gas can be deadly. So, in an effort to alert people to the presence of natural gas, an acrid sulfur-like odor has been artificially added to the potentially stealthy killer. Now there is no doubt when there is a natural gas leak unless one is without a sense of smell.

To assist in the adaptation to silent electric cars by pedestrians, some sort of sound should, like the natural gas odor, be added to the vehicle.

Nowhere is this more true than on school buses. Montreal has numerous 100% electric school buses. They look exactly like a regular bus, with the exception of the blue bumpers. In addition, an artificial sound has been added that alerts all, especially children, that there is a large vehicle nearby.

Interestingly, the sound is the same three-note tune that has for years signaled the departure of Metro trains. Not surprisingly, this initially caused much confusion when people heard the doo-doo-doo when outside, not even close to a Metro station!

Not surprisingly, this initially caused much confusion when people heard the doo-doo-doo when outside, not even close to a Metro station!

I am a lifelong resident of a city that has, over the years and decades, boasted some of the finest NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) proponents. When it comes to whining and complaining, my fellow citizens take a back seat to no one.

I live on a residential street that has a beautiful park and elementary school on one side. Every morning and afternoon, as several buses drop off and pick up children, the sound of the artificial doo-doo-doo is cacophonous. One bus is one thing; a dozen is another.

Understanding both the importance and shortness of this noise, I would not think of complaining. Yet, I just know one day I will read in the local newspaper and there it will be, a letter to the editor about the disturbance of the peace, even if it is for safety reasons.

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