Image courtesy the MTA

The new year is kicking off to a busy start with ambitious plans slated for New York City: last week, we learned about a few of Governor Cuomo’s visions, including the 407-acre green space coming to the Jamaica Bay waterfront and the possibility of extending a subway line to Red Hook. Now, Cuomo has announced the launch of a three-year pilot program for 10 all-electric buses to not only reduce emissions, but also to modernize the public transit fleet. “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,” Governor Cuomo said.

Image courtesy the MTA

The pilot, according to a MTA press release, follows the successful completion of a four-year study focused on the best global practices for electric buses. As part of its initial phase, the MTA will now test 10 new, zero-emission buses manufactured by Proterra and New Flyer; if all goes well, the agency hopes to order an additional 60 all-electric buses, which feature amenities such as WiFi and USB ports. Not only are they environmentally sustainable, they are also quieter than traditional buses.

MTA Managing Director Ronnie Hakim said, “This pilot is part of our overall mandate to modernize our bus fleet: whether it’s the latest in electric vehicle technology, state-of-the-art advancements like pedestrian turn warning, traffic signal priority or advanced security systems, investing in our bus infrastructure is a top priority for the MTA.”

Image courtesy the MTA

The ten buses will be leased for testing over a period of three years: five vehicles from Proterra will operate on routes including the B32 in Brooklyn and Queens; the remaining buses from New Flyer will cover the M42 and M50 routes in midtown Manhattan. Included in the Proterra lease are six depot charging stations, which will be installed in the Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, Queens, as well as an “en-route” high power charging station to be placed at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Bridge Plaza.

The New Flyer lease includes two depot charging stations, which will be installed in the Michael J Quill depot, Manhattan, and two ‘en-route’ high power charging stations (East 41 Street and at Pier 83, Circle Line on West 43 Street).

Additionally, the MTA has ordered 110 new Compressed Natural Gas buses that will operate across the Bronx and Brooklyn until the first quarter of 2019. The new fleet, the first CNG 60-foot articulated buses have lower particulate emissions than diesel buses. They will replace a portion of the existing fleet of 781, 40-foot CNG buses, some of the oldest in New York City.

The results from this pilot program will provide the MTA and electric buses manufacturers with data that will help develop bus specifications for the future.

Next, check out what else is happening in New York City transit news.