Prioritizing Equity, First Electric Buses to be Deployed to Historically Underserved Communities
With the New Depots, MTA Will Have Electric Bus Depots Serving all Five Boroughs
New Zero-Emission Bus Fleet Will Deepen the MTA’s Commitment to Sustainability and Environmental Justice
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will deploy 60 zero-emission electric buses at six bus depots serving all five boroughs. This deployment deepens the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s commitment to equity and environmental justice by prioritizing communities with high asthma and air pollution rates. In New York City, approximately 75 percent of Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus depots are located in low/moderate-income communities, and transit bus routes run disproportionately through these neighborhoods.
“My administration is laser focused on speeding up our transition to clean energy,” Governor Hochul said. “Public transportation has always been critical to reducing emissions and this deployment is a major step toward the MTA’s commitment to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040. New York’s progress in modernizing our transportation infrastructure has far-reaching impacts that help address social equity and continue to cement our status as a national leader in the fight against climate change.”
The announcement represents a major step towards the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) 2018 commitment of deploying a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040, which will avoid 520,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. The first of these new electric buses will begin arriving at depots in the second half of 2022 and will be at all six locations in 2023. The Authority currently operates 15 zero-emission electric buses, and the historic $51.5 Billion MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program includes $1.1 billion in funding to buy another 500.
These buses will provide service among numerous routes at the following depots:
• Grand Ave, Queens: servicing the B24, B32, B39, B47, B48, B57, B60, B62, Q59
• Charleston, Staten Island: servicing the S55, S56, S74, S78, S84
• East New York, Brooklyn: servicing the B12, B14, B15, B17, B25, B42, B45, B65, B82, B83, B84, Q24, Q56
• Kingsbridge, Manhattan: servicing the Bx3, Bx7, Bx10, Bx13, Bx18, Bx20, M100
• Michael J. Quill, Manhattan: servicing the M8, M9, M12, M20, M21, M22, M42, M50, M55, M57, M66, M72
• Jamaica, Queens: servicing the Q3, Q4, Q5, Q17, Q30, Q42, Q77, Q84, Q85
In addition, five of these bus depots will be equipped with new state-of-the-art charging infrastructure to support the MTA’s growing electric bus fleet starting in the second half of 2022: Grand Ave, Charleston, East New York, Jamaica, and Kingsbridge. The on-route charger at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza will also receive updates. All infrastructure upgrades will be completed in advance of bus arrivals at each depot.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “I can think of no better way to celebrate Earth Day than to announce this significant deployment of electric buses. We know that buses are engines of equity, and it is an MTA priority to bring electric buses to environmental justice communities most impacted by climate change and pollution. Any New Yorker can join the fight against climate change by riding with the MTA, and these electric buses will only further reduce carbon emissions in our region.”
New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said, “The MTA is committed to a zero-emissions bus fleet to protect our city from the harmful effects of fossil fuels, and this deployment is a big step towards making environmentally friendly mass transit even greener. This deployment will greatly expand the presence of zero-emissions electric buses on New York City’s streets in all five boroughs and represents significant progress towards a fully zero-emissions bus fleet.”
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “On this Earth Day, it’s a pleasure to join MTA in this celebration of their significant step forward in electrifying their fleet as we continue to work together to combat climate change and pivot towards our clean energy future. Zero-emission buses play a key role in reducing air pollution in our communities while providing essential transportation services in connecting New Yorkers to jobs, activities and amenities across the New York City area.”
New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “The MTA is setting a high bar when it comes to leading a full-scale transition to clean public transit and the New York Power Authority is proud of its role in making this all-electric bus fleet a reality. We are finalizing design for the modern overhead charging infrastructure in four depots and will move into construction in the coming months. This partnership is bringing us closer to a city transportation system that will help protect the communities’ health and promise a more sustainable future for all of New York City.”
This deployment contains several major milestones for the MTA’s bus fleet, including the first agency-owned standard 40-foot electric buses, the first in-depot overhead pantograph chargers, the first partnership with the New York Power Authority to manage charger installation, and the first partnership with a power company to install high-tension service and construction of a sub-station to supply electric buses. The initiative prioritizes environmental justice communities, putting green buses on the roads of neighborhoods that will most benefit from them, and will accelerate the Authority’s progress in further cutting carbon emissions in its bus fleet. The MTA presently has over 1,300 low-emissions hybrid buses in its fleet, including 399 2nd generation hybrid buses which run on battery-only EV mode a portion of the time, greatly reducing fossil fuel usage.
The MTA is also commemorating Earth Day this year by reminding New Yorkers that the best way to fight climate change is to take public transit. Every year, the MTA’s environmentally sustainable transit system allows the New York metropolitan region to avoid more than 17 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually — or more than three times the annual greenhouse gas emissions of San Francisco. It also means New York State has the lowest per capita energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The commitment to an all zero-emission bus fleet by 2040 will make what is already the most sustainable way to get around the New York region even greener.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, "We know that environmental justice begins on the ground, starting with the communities most impacted by climate change. Public transit is a critical piece of this work to build a greener city and more zero-emission buses will supercharge that effort, getting New Yorkers where they need to go while reducing harmful air pollution. I thank Governor Hochul for prioritizing environmental justice, centering the communities hit hardest by climate change, and helping move our city forward.”
Representative Jamaal Bowman said, “Addressing climate change is critical for all of our communities. Electrifying our transportation system is an essential part of that fight to protect people and our planet, and I believe that public transit should lead the way. I am happy to see the MTA taking concrete steps towards reducing greenhouse gasses while providing reliable transportation for neighbors here in New York’s 16th Congressional District. I look forward to supporting the agency in accelerating its transition to clean energy, and bringing not only our district but the nation into a more sustainable future.”
State Senator Leroy Comrie said, “I welcome this announcement of additional green buses and their presence in all five boroughs. Zero-emission buses are a step forward for our transit system, for our neighborhoods, and for our environment. As we transition toward an all zero-emission bus fleet, it is important to keep environmental justice in mind and ensure that we continue to prioritize inclusion alongside sustainability.”
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, “As we celebrate Earth Day 2022, it is fitting that this announcement is being made. The sixty new all-electric buses will help reduce emissions across MTA’s bus fleet, particularly along some routes serving Senate District 19. I applaud the MTA’s commitment to moving toward a 100% zero-emissions fleet by 2040.” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, "It is exciting to see the MTA move more expeditiously in its transition to a fully-electric bus fleet. Our fight against climate change can be led not only by offering people fast, reliable, and efficient transit service but also by ensuring the vehicles moving people are fully electric. I look forward to riding these electric buses as they hit Manhattan's streets."
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr said, "For generations, unchecked fossil fuel consumption and emission production has had dangerous and disparate consequences for many of our historically underserved communities across Queens, from Astoria’s “Asthma Alley” to Jamaica and beyond. With today’s announcement, that tide begins to turn. Fully electrifying our bus fleet is a critical step forward to preserving our environment and protecting our families, and I am grateful to the MTA for its commitment to rolling out more electric buses in Queens this fall. I look forward to working with the MTA to further expedite this process as climate change continues to bear down on our borough."
New York City Council Member Selvena N. Brooks-Powers said, “New York City has been plagued by disinvestment for years, causing black and brown communities to lack reliable access to transportation. I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul and MTA Chairman Janno Lieber for prioritizing equitable access to green transportation to ensure under-resourced communities have access to reliable, safe, affordable and accessible transportation. Deployment of 60 zero-emission electric buses - like the Q5, that services Laurelton and Rosedale - will ensure New Yorkers have access to transportation, while not contributing to increases in asthma rates and air pollution.”
New York City Council Member Eric Dinowitz said, “With what we know now about the unnerving acceleration of climate change, it is welcomed news that the MTA is looking to do their part with the deployment of 60 new electric buses. This is just a first step towards an 100% zero emissions fleet by 2040, but a critical one. We are at a time where rates of asthma are soaring in The Bronx, and scientists across the globe are pleading with governments and private industry to take these steps to protect the livability of our earth. I am appreciative that our agencies here in New York are listening and taking action.”
New York City Council Member Sandy Nurse said, “Today's announcement by the MTA of the rollout of a number of all-electric buses is a necessary step toward reducing our transit system's emissions and their negative health impacts on our communities. As the MTA continues to make progress toward a 100% zero-emissions fleet, we must continue to ensure we prioritize environmental justice communities like East New York, which have too often been made to bear the burden of polluting infrastructure.
New York City Council Member Robert Holden said, “Our environment is precious, and we should leave this world better than we found it. On this Earth Day, and every day, we should make every effort to reduce our emissions and improve our climate.”
President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, "We can’t tackle the climate crisis without tackling transportation pollution and investing in mass transit. There's no better progress for the environment and public health in New York to celebrate on Earth Day than the MTA following through on its commitment to deploy 60 zero-emissions electric buses on its way to a fully electric fleet. With asthma the leading cause of school absences, reducing air pollution in communities that house bus depots is critical to improve the public health of our neighbors, and keep kids in class. The New York League of Conservation Voters thanks the Governor, the MTA, and the collaboration among our leaders to make this possible."
Customer Energy Solutions Senior Vice President Lenny Singh said, “Con Edison is proud to be a partner with the MTA in its significant shift to electric buses. As more electric vehicles hit the streets, it’s critical there’s a robust charging network in place. That’s where we come in: by investing to ensure the reliability of the electric grid, and by committing to New York State’s goals for a clean energy future.”