In recognition of Earth Week, Governor Cuomo announced a new pilot program to bring electric buses to New York City this year. The MTA board has approved to lease the first five electric buses, and the lease for the next five will be presented later this year. The program will cost $4 million for three-year leases, which includes six depot charging stations. A charging station will be located at the Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, where buses will charge overnight. The first leg of the pilot will also include one “en-route” charging station at the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn, which will serve as the hub for nine routes.
According to the MTA, the electric buses are quieter and more efficient than gas engines and make the environment cleaner by reducing car exhaust. Cuomo, who heads the agency, said: “As we continue to transform and reimagine the MTA, it is critical that we focus on long-term sustainability. With this, we are taking one more step toward reducing New York’s greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change and help secure a cleaner greener future for all.”
Over the next three years, the ten electric buses will be evaluated to determine what works best for the city in the long run and to develop and refine bus specifications. The MTA chose two vendors of electric buses to manufacture a total of ten buses. The first five come from the vendor Proterra, which will operate buses on the B39 and B32 routes in Brooklyn. The second lease of five buses, coming later this year, will be from the vendor New Flyer, and will operate buses on the M42 route in Manhattan.
According to the MTA, New York State has the lowest per capita energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the nation. Although the MTA produces 2.1 million metric tons of emissions per year, its operations reduce emissions by 17 million metric tons annually, the first transit agency to quantify such emissions on a regional basis.
Last year, Cuomo announced a plan to revamp the MTA’s train and bus systems in the city, and as 6sqft covered, this included adding 2,042 new buses to the streets over the next five years. These buses will feature WiFi, multiple charging ports and two or three LCD information screens. The entire fleet is expected to be operational by 2020.
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Renderings via MTA and Governor Cuomo’s office