Technology Here come the electric buses

Here come the electric buses

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Make way for the electric buses.

The United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration are broadcasting $1.7 billion from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 46 states and territories to fund the purchase of 1,700 buses, more than half of which will be zero-emission models.

The new prices bring the total number of zero-emission buses funded by the Infrastructure Act to 1,800, which is more than double the number of clean buses on the road. That still represents only a fraction of the roughly 60,000 buses currently operating in the US, but officials hailed it as an important step toward modernizing the country’s aging transit fleet in the face of climate change.

The new awards bring the total number of zero-emission buses funded by the Infrastructure Act to 1,800

“These are unprecedented levels of investment when it comes to putting modern, cleaner buses on the road,” US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a briefing with reporters. “These projects will improve and increase bus service and bus reliability, so more people can get where they need to be on time. And it will reduce costs for the local taxpayer. It’s just a better commute if you’re on one of these cleaner buses.”

Each winner will receive millions of dollars to fund the purchase of new buses, update garage facilities to install charging infrastructure, and retrain drivers and mechanics to support their servicing and maintenance. The funds, which will go to urban and rural communities, as well as Indian reservations, will be distributed from the FTA’s Buses and Bus Facility Subsidies and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programs.

Examples include $104 million to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to convert its bus garage in Lorton, Virginia, into an EV-supporting facility; $33.5 million to King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Washington, to purchase approximately 30 battery electric buses; and $23.3 million to Iowa City to replace four diesel buses with electric models.

The Biden administration was quick to tout the economic development benefits of its investments in clean buses. According to Buttigieg, all the acquired buses will be manufactured in America and the money will also be spent on workforce development to ensure transit workers have the skills to operate and maintain this new generation of vehicles.

“These are unprecedented levels of investment when it comes to putting modern, cleaner buses on the road”

But not all new models will be emission-free. At least half of the buses will be powered by natural gas or “another fuel source that makes our air much less toxic,” said Veronica Vanterpool, deputy administrator of the FTA.

“We know that for some agencies, zero emissions are not yet the solution,” added Vanterpool. “But they want to replace their older diesel or gasoline buses with something better for their community.”

Combined with last year’s announcement, there are now 3,300 new vehicles on the road that are zero-emissions or powered by less polluting fuels. Today’s announcement accounts for an additional 700 zero-emission buses, including battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Transit agencies continue to operate struggle to regain ridership in the years since the pandemic. Challenges such as changing commutes, staff shortages and declining revenues continue to plague most transportation systems in the US. Experts continue to worry about the possibility of a transit “death spiral” – a cycle of terrible service leading to even fewer riders, leading to even more terrible service, and so on.

It is unclear whether cleaner buses will necessarily improve the future of public transport, although few would dispute that it is better for the environment and for the health of people living in the communities served by public transport. Some critics have argued that the money would be better spent improving service than acquiring an expensive new fleet, especially when production of these new buses is still in full development.

For example, Nova Bus, a Canadian manufacturer that produces zero-emission models, recently announced that it would closing its establishment in New York State to focus on the Quebec locations.

But Buttigieg said cleaner buses go hand in hand with improved service and reliability. “We are historically putting money into making public transport cleaner, safer, more reliable and more resilient,” he said, “because it is absolutely essential to our daily lives.”

Shreya Christinahttp://ukbusinessupdates.com
Shreya has been with ukbusinessupdates.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider ukbusinessupdates.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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