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The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) announced yesterday that it would slow the phase-in of its new subway cars and extend the life of its MR-73 cars until 2036, or 60 years after they were launched into service.The agency's 2020 strategic plan called for the continual replacement of its Metro car fleet of 336 MR-63 cars and 423 MR-73 cars. But financial challenges prompted agency leaders to alter the fleet replacement plan by extending the life of the MR-73 cars by another 20 years."The changing context and financial challenges all public bodies are now dealing with have led the corporation to rethink about how best to invest and ensure its assets are adequately maintained while continuing to deliver reliable service that meets the needs of increasing passenger traffic," said STM Chairman Philippe Schnobb in a press release.Keeping the older cars in service longer will save taxpayers about $500 million, he said.The agency expects to spend about $108 million (Canadian dollars) to maintain the MR-73 cars in service until they are replaced. An additional $479.5 million would be used to acquire eight Bombardier-built AZUR trains — over and above the 468 cars covered by the current contract — as well as retrofit garages to accommodate the new trains. Such investments are necessary to handle STM's growing passenger traffic until the old cars are replaced, agency officials said.Next year, 52 new AZUR Metro cars will roll out as scheduled, CBC News reported yesterday.
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