NEW YORK CITY– Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the start of a three-year pilot program for 10 all-electric buses with the goal of reducing emissions and modernizing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s bus fleet.
Using lessons learned from the initial phase of the pilot, the MTA intends to order an additional 60 all-electric buses. Timing of the larger order will be dictated by the buses’ performance during the initial phase of the pilot.
The new zero-emission, all-electric buses support environmental sustainability, are quieter than traditional buses and will feature amenities such as Wi-Fi and USB ports to enhance customer experience.
“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,” Cuomo said. “This new program helps the MTA secure a cleaner and greener future while leveraging the latest in innovative advancements to push New York’s transit systems into the future.”
In addition to testing the new electric buses, the MTA has ordered 110 new compressed natural gas buses to operate across the Bronx and Brooklyn between now and the first quarter of 2019.
The new buses will be the first CNG 60-foot articulated buses and will refresh a portion of the existing fleet of 781 40-foot CNG buses, taking the oldest buses out of service and adding capacity. CNG buses are cleaner burning and have lower particulate emissions than diesel buses.
After a study of best practices from systems across the U.S. and around the world, the MTA identified two vendors to manufacture 10 all-electric buses, which were leased for test and evaluation over a period of three years in the New York City operating environment.
The first of those vendors, Proterra, was selected to provide five over-night charging electric buses that will be operated on routes including the B32 in Brooklyn and Queens. The second vendor, New Flyer Industries, will provide five buses that will be operated on the M42 and M50 routes in midtown Manhattan.
All of the new electric buses will feature customer amenities such as Wi-Fi and USB ports that will enhance the customer experience.
The three-year lease for the Proterra buses includes six depot charging stations, which will be installed in the Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, Queens, where the buses will be recharged overnight or mid-day. The first leg of the pilot will also include one “en-route” high-power charging station, which will be located at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn and be used to extend the range of the buses by quickly recharging without having to return to the depot.
The plaza is the hub for nine routes that serve Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
The three-year lease for the New Flyer buses includes two depot charging stations, which will be installed in the Michael J. Quill depot, Manhattan, where the buses will be recharged overnight or mid-day and to eventually support maintenance and operations type activities. The first leg of the pilot will also include two “en-route” high-power charging stations, one on East 41st Street and the second at Pier 83, Circle Line on West 43rd Street.
The MTA plans to learn if these two chargers can eventually support 24 hours of operation without having to return buses to the depot.