Photos courtesy of Marc A. Hermann / MTA.

60 New Electric Buses to Operate in Queens, Staten Island, & Brooklyn

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Photo courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/MTA.

Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday introduced 60 new electric buses that will operate in routes in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York Power Authority are building critical infrastructure to power a zero-emissions bus fleet, including installing 17 new bus charge points at Grand Avenue Bus Depot in Queens. Today’s announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and the MTA’s goal of operating a 100 percent zero emission bus fleet by 2040.

Photo courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/MTA.

“These new electric buses will play a key role in ensuring New Yorkers can get to where they’re going safely and sustainably,” Governor Hochul said. “Zero-emission buses are becoming the hallmark of our transit systems, demonstrating the importance of building healthy, environmentally friendly cities.”

The buses feature lightweight electric traction drive systems that allow buses to recover up to 90 percent of energy during braking. This regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brakes and maximizes energy efficiency. These buses are paid for with almost $70 million in formula funds from the Federal Transit Administration, including almost $20 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is working closely with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to build the critical infrastructure required to power a zero-emissions bus fleet. The Power Authority recently completed the installation of 17 fast charging systems points – known as autonomous pantograph dispensers because they “dispense” energy through roof mounted arms that automatically connect with the buses. Buses will park underneath the arms at the Grand Avenue Bus Depot and Central Maintenance Facility in Queens. Another 46 are under construction at the Herkimer lot in East New York in Brooklyn and the Charleston facility in Staten Island, to be complete by the end of the year. An on-street pantograph that will serve buses needing to “top off” their batteries between daily runs is almost complete under the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn.

The $188 million second phase of work will bring 220 additional overhead pantograph charging systems to Grand Avenue and four other depots in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. In addition, several depots will require electric distribution upgrades in conjunction with Consolidated Edison. The contract will deploy multiple charging manufacturers, a sophisticated charge management system to help balance the electrical loads, and a long-term service agreement to help maintain reliable bus charging.

“Every mile on these buses is a mile run less on fossil fuels—a victory every day for sustainability,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “As the largest public bus system in North America, we are leading the way to a greener future, revolutionizing public transportation, one electric bus at a time.”

“The New York Power Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are making significant progress in building out infrastructure to support the electrification of the nation’s largest bus fleet,” said New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “An influx of 60 new buses and a rapidly increasing number of chargers will set New York City on a firm path to a clean transportation system that will have zero-emission buses traveling through every New York City borough by 2026.”

“We’re shaping a future where our buses not only connect neighborhoods but also protect our planet,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “Adopting zero emissions buses means cleaner air, a more resilient transit system, and customers will enjoy the quieter rides they provide – it’s a true win, win.”

“This delivery marks some exciting milestones in our zero-emissions strategy including our first 40-foot buses, first autonomous pantograph charging, and first collaboration with our partners at NYPA and Con Edison,” said New York City Transit Senior Vice President of Buses Frank Annicaro. “I’m proud of the hard work accomplished to get here and we remain committed to prioritizing the deployment of these buses to those low-income and minority communities that need them the most.”

In a historic move, the MTA is collaborating closely with Con Edison to source new power for bus charging. Work to transform bus depots to support electric buses includes building lanes inside depots that are specific for electric buses and restructuring areas to accommodate overhead pantograph dispensers which charge buses. These high-tech devices energize the buses efficiently, ensuring they are always ready for service.

Following closely on the heels of this 60-bus delivery, the MTA expects to start receiving its next order of 205 electric buses in late 2025. The agencies are also negotiating an option to secure another 265 battery electric buses at six depots starting in 2027, which would bring electric buses to a total of 11 depots. This delivery builds on the MTA’s previous order of 15 zero-emissions vehicles in 2019, which currently serve routes in Manhattan.

The MTA has committed to transitioning to a 100 percent zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040. A 100 percent zero emissions bus fleet means that the MTA will avoid a further 500,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

“This $70 million federal investment, $20 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for 60 clean, electric MTA busses will reduce the dirty diesel particulate pollution that contributes to so much asthma in our neighborhoods,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “It will supercharge the MTA’s and Governor Hochul’s drive to electrify bus transit and create an emissions-free future. I led the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law to passage so New York can have the federal funding needed to combat climate change, and now these major investments will set the wheels in motion to put new electric buses on New York City’s roads, and help the city build out charging infrastructure, curbing carbon emissions, decreasing pollution, and improving air quality. I am proud to deliver this tremendous investment that will carry our communities to a brighter, emissions-free future.”

“New York’s Eighth Congressional District is home to some of the busiest bus routes in New York City,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. “I applaud the MTA for their efforts to further electrify our bus fleet, bringing much-needed relief to communities disproportionately impacted by vehicular air pollution and a more reliable, energy-efficient ride for all New Yorkers.”

“Public transportation is the engine of our city, helping millions of New Yorkers get to where they need to go every day,” said Representative Nydia M. Velázquez. “Electrifying public transit will help reduce emissions and create a greener future for our city. Today’s delivery of 60 new electric buses is a critical step toward achieving zero emissions. I was proud to support the nearly $70 million in federal funding that secured these new buses in Congress, and I thank Governor Hochul and MTA leadership for their work to make this possible.”

“As more New Yorkers utilize the city’s bus system, it’s great to see a focus on greener roadways,” said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Coastal communities like my district understand all too well the increasing impacts of climate change. As Chair of the NYC Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I applaud initiatives by the Governor and the MTA to reduce emissions and utilize more energy-efficient technology in our transit system. I look forward to seeing these buses on our roadways soon.”

Photo courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/MTA.
Photo courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/MTA.

“For generations, unchecked fossil fuel consumption and emission production has had disastrous consequences on communities across Queens, especially our most historically marginalized neighborhoods,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. “But with today’s rollout of 60 new electric buses, we’re taking a major step toward correcting that injustice. Thank you to the Hochul administration and the MTA for their steadfast commitment to building out a fully electric bus fleet, as we work to preserve our environment and protect our families in the process. I look forward to seeing plenty more electric buses roll down Queens streets in the months and years to come.”

Press release from MTAGovernor Hochul.

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