T lays out bus electrification plan
Rollout dependent on build out of new bus garages
MBTA OFFICIALS on Monday laid out a multi-billion-dollar plan for reducing the bus fleet’s carbon emissions to zero by annually rolling out a steady stream of hybrid electric-diesel and battery-electric buses with the share of all-electric buses dependent on how fast the agency’s old maintenance garages can be overhauled and rebuilt.
Scott Hamwey, director of the MBTA’s bus modernization program, told the Fiscal and Management Control Board that the pace of bus maintenance facility modernization efforts will dictate the pace of bus electrification.
Members of the control board welcomed the plan, but Joe Aiello, the chairman, seemed skeptical the agency could pull it off, particularly the quick acquisition of new garage sites. “I think it is a very aggressive schedule,” he said. “Not everybody wants to have a bus maintenance facility in the neighborhood.”
Financing for the plan is also uncertain, with funding committed for only the early stages.
Hamwey proposed renovating or replacing a bus maintenance facility every two to three years and buying between 80 to 100 new buses a year, with the agency shifting more and more to battery electric buses as the maintenance facilities needed to service them come on line.
He said the T plans to renovate the North Cambridge repair facility by 2023 and move in battery electric buses to replace the current trolley electric buses that pull power from overhead caternary wires. He said the T plans to open a new all-electric bus repair facility in Quincy in 2024 and then build or renovate the Arborway, Fellsway, and Lynn garages at two-year intervals through 2030, followed by the Albany, Southampton, Cabot, and Charlestown garages over the next eight years.Hamwey recommended the T procure a mix of 80 to 100 hybrid-diesel and battery electric buses each year, at a cost of $750,000 to $850,000 per bus for hybrids and $850,000 to $1.1 million for the battery electric buses. He said the first 80 battery electric buses would arrive in fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2024 and be split between the North Cambridge and Quincy facilities.
With the combination of battery electric buses and hybrids generally replacing all-diesel buses, Hamwey predicted the T could reduce the emissons of its bus fleet by 80 percent by 2032.