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Published on May 7th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan


Philadelphia Makes Largest Transit Investment In Zero-Emission Buses In US Northeast

May 7th, 2016 by  

Nowhere is it more necessary to hasten the transition to electric vehicles than with buses. Sitting on a bus should not induce headaches from diesel exhaust blowing in the back of the bus. One automatically holds one’s breath to avoid air on and off the bus. Consider the bicyclists and pedestrians as a bus travels by.

Metro.us reports that Philadelphia will experience the largest transit agency investment in zero-emission buses in the US Northeast, according to Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of the Sierra Club’s electric vehicles initiative. Philadelphia is a walkable city already, but cleaning up the buses will be a help for walkability as well. Even as Philly leads, it seems this transition to electric mass-transit should have come at the bicentennial along with the fireworks.



Philadelphians are smiling as SEPTA leads this vast East Coast city bringing electric buses to its fleets.

It is a given that mass transit is a key to a lighter footprint and not so many endless highways with large cars. To clean up the bus ride to make it environmentally well is also a primary health concern.

Metro.us continues that SEPTA in Philly is going electric just on routes 29 and 79. Hopefully it expands the clean electric routes quickly.

“We have one of the greenest bus fleets in the country,” said SEPTA deputy general manager Rich Burnfield, citing that more than half of Philly buses are hybrids. “With 25 electric buses, this is a real opportunity to pilot those vehicles. I think it will be a great enhancement for the Authority, for our customers and for the residents.”

Philadelphians are hopeful in anticipation of their cleaner travels and air freshening, as SEPTA adds 25 zero-emissions electric buses to roll along the 29 and 79 bus routes in South Philly, the home of the famous tomato pie. (Have you ever seen those long lines for tomato pie in South Philly?)

“I’m super pumped!” said Jen Hombach, a Morris Street resident – where the 29 bus travels – and environmental activist with 350 Philly.

“The electric buses would be such a difference,” she said. “If I want to walk to the shops at Columbus Commons, now I won’t have to deal with breathing the fumes when the bus is rolling that way.”

The grant is about $2.5 million. “SEPTA will be buying 40-foot Proterra Catalysts, which can carry 77 passengers, similar to current buses.”

The buses, if futuristic, are also brilliantly simple. The thing is with electric vehicles, simplicity reigns. This year, all the EV work necessary for the EV I drive was rotating my tires and considering a new filter to filter out everyone else’s fumes.

An earlier story by EV Obsession explains that Proterra buses have an average fuel economy roughly 4 times higher than that of baseline CNG buses.

Speaking of the “disruptive” effect of EVs on the traditional combustion-engine vehicle market, Proterra CEO Ryan Popple finds, “It’s quite possible that combustion vehicles become entirely extinct within the next five to 10 years because of the cost deficiency.” Hopefully there is a similarity to exponentially growth in solar that some expect.

Related Stories:

NREL: Proterra Electric Buses Possess Average Fuel Economy Roughly 4 Times Higher Than That Of CNG Baseline Buses

St. Albert To Deploy Fleet Of BYD Electric Buses

New Flyer Completes 1,800 Electric Bus Passenger Rides, 1,150 Miles

Image by Proterra 

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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, anthropologist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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