MTA Launches Electric Bus Pilot

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Last week, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched a 10-vehicle battery-electric bus pilot program that includes five New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE buses and five Proterra Catalyst E2 units. According to a January 8th press release, MTA intends to purchase 60 additional battery-electric buses following the pilot’s completion. The participating buses, which include amenities such as WiFi and USB charging ports, are being leased for the three-year program.

In addition to deploying the battery-electric buses on several routes, the program will also allow the MTA to test charging systems and options. The pilot is part of a greater push to modernize and clean up the agency’s transit fleet, as it also recently ordered 110 new articulated compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for use in the Bronx and Brooklyn boroughs. Although all-electric technology is growing in popularity, CNG is a cleaner source of fuel than diesel or gasoline.

MTA officials hold that efforts such as these are critical to the agency’s environmental and modernization goals: “As a hub of business and transportation, New York City is an ideal proving ground for both electric buses and the charging technology. As we continue to modernize our public transit system, the MTA looks toward a more sustainable future by continuing to reduce greenhouse emissions and innovating in all of our operations,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota.

“As we overhaul and reimagine the MTA, we have an opportunity to not only modernize our bus fleet but to also reduce emissions that impact the environment and public health,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “This new program helps the MTA secure a cleaner and greener future while leveraging the latest in innovation advancements to push New York’s transit systems into the future.”