MTA will add 60 electric buses by the end of the year (that’s 1% of the entire fleet) – Streetsblog New York City

Every little gesture counts!

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced today that it will add 60 electric buses to its fleet of 6,000 buses by the end of the year, increasing the 15 it currently has, in what it said announcement of “Earth Day”.

The authority will roll out the electric buses to six depots in the five boroughs of “environmental justice communities” with disproportionately high asthma rates, depending on pollution. The authority’s 15 electric articulated buses now travel two routes: the M60 to LaGuardia Airport and the M14 along 14th Street. The MTA has leased a handful of other electric buses for use in the outer boroughs. The six depots and routes concerned are:

  • Grand Avenue, Queens: serving B24, B32, B39, B47, B48, B57, B60, B62, Q59
  • Charleston, Staten Island: service of S55, S56, S74, S78, S84
  • East New York, Brooklyn: serving B12, B14, B15, B17, B25, B42, B45, B65, B82, B83, B84, Q24, Q56
  • Kingsbridge, Manhattan: maintenance of Bx3, Bx7, Bx10, Bx13, Bx18, Bx20, M100
  • Michael J. Quill Depot, Manhattan: Serves M8, M9, M12, M20, M21, M22, M42, M50, M55, M57, M66, M72
  • Jamaica, Queens: serving Q3, Q4, Q5, Q17, Q30, Q42, Q77, Q84, Q85

‘Mass transit is the antidote to climate change,’ MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said at a Midtown news conference, adding that mass transit saves 17 million tons from being released. metrics of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year (for example, by keeping people away from cars). . Transportation is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New York, after buildings.

The announcement is the latest step in the slow rollout of MTA bus electrification, which has been hampered by the fact that New York City pays some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. Even as cities around the world (see: Shenzhen, China) and the United States shift full throttle to adopting electric fleets, New York, with the largest bus fleet in the country, has lagged : Its electric buses are still considered a “pilot project. Just two years ago, the MTA was paying more per bus mile for electricity than for fossil fuels.

In order to fully electrify the fleet and achieve its goal of zero emissions by 2040, the MTA needs a stable electricity supply and sufficient charging infrastructure – a difficult task. But because the MTA isn’t the only player moving toward mass electrification, it has to constantly negotiate rates.

Governor Hochul (center) and MTA brass discuss electric bus chargers (left).  Photo: MTA
Governor Hochul (center) and MTA brass discuss electric bus chargers (left). Photo: Governor’s Office

The technical aspects of sustaining bus load also present a problem. The MTA may one day need to charge 300 buses at a time at depots, requiring more charging stations, and will need to install many low-power overhead charging gantries along routes to allow vehicles to complete their journeys. routes. The MTA said that in order to support the new electric buses, it will add charging infrastructure at Grand Avenue, Charleston, East New York, Jamaica and Kingsbridge depots in the second half.

So the authority’s assertion that today’s announcement represents a “major step” towards its 2040 goal seems exaggerated, but the spread of several dozen electric buses in the city has nevertheless been hailed by a panoply of chosen ones.

“Completely electrifying our bus fleet is an essential step in preserving our environment and protecting our families, and I am grateful to the MTA for its commitment to deploying more electric buses in Queens this fall,” said the president of Borough of Queens, Donovan Richards. statement.

The MTA now deploys 1,300 gas-electric hybrid buses, with 399 sometimes running on electric power alone in “EV mode.” It pledges to purchase only electric buses by 2029. New York State has earmarked $1.1 billion for the purchase of 500 electric buses in the 2020-2024 capital plan.

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