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New York Plans to Make Bus Fleet All-Electric by 2040

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【Summary】Emissions are up and bus ridership is down in New York. The city plans to address these issues with a fleet of electric buses and a revamp of the MTA system.

Mia Bevacqua    May 17, 2018 7:27 PM PT
New York Plans to Make Bus Fleet All-Electric by 2040
author: Mia Bevacqua   

The saying goes New York New York, big city of dreams. It looks like NYC's fantasies may become a reality with an all-electric bus fleet by 2040. At least that's the plan.

The MTA transitions to EV 

New York MTA has a huge fleet of soot-bellowing diesel buses – 5,700 to be exact. Each of these provides 2 million rides every weekday, on over 300 routes. Switching to all-electric power could greatly reduce emissions and cost. The city's Transit President, Andy Byford, announced earlier this week the city intends to make the transition by 2040. 

Not only does NY have the largest bus system in the nation, it also has one of the slowest. Average speeds of a bus in Manhattan is 5.7 mph. This equates to lots of idle time and extensive emissions.This in contrast to the other parts of the world where buses scoot along at 25 mph. Obviously, switching to electric power could greatly improve this situation. 

Electric buses already on the road

Already, 10 electric buses are being tested in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This is just the start of a great deal of change that needs to take place. 

In NYC, bus ridership has decreased by 14 percent system-wide since 2007, even though the city's population is increasing. New York – and many other cities throughout the U.S. – have not updated their bus networks to reflect the times.

Even the MTA admits the route must be updated to meet customer needs. While bus travel is down, ride-hailing services are up by 31 million riders and Citi Bike is up by 6.4 million. These are the plans to address the situation, according to the MTA: 

Create a modern network

Expand Bus priority 

Require effective traffic enforcement 

Speed up boarding

Improve the customer experience 

Provide proactive service management 

Enhance our world-class fleet 

Electric buses, along with the rest of these changes, will help give New York City residents the transportation system they need and deserve. 


Sources: MTA 

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