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New Electric Buses Take to the Road in Allegheny County, Pa.

Two of the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s electric buses took to the road for the first time this week. Duquesne Light installed fast chargers and electrical infrastructure under a partnership with the Port Authority.

The inside of a public bus.
(TNS) — The Port Authority of Allegheny County’s two new electric buses were on the road for a first time Monday, hauling passengers from Downtown to Point Breeze and back, an authority official said.

Port Authority spokesman Adam Brandolph said officials chose the 88 Route to test performance on a fairly significant hill along Liberty Avenue. The route ends at the authority garage in East Liberty.

The buses can be charged up if necessary after a run.

“We have two charging machines in our garage in East Liberty,” Brandolph said. “The plan is to have them make two or three trips and then go back to the garage, charge up and then go out again.”

Duquesne Light installed two fast chargers and associated electrical infrastructure under a partnership with the Port Authority. The power company will own the equipment and the authority will share data from electrical buses to help Duquesne Light better understand impact on the electrical grid and plan for future growth, according to spokeswoman Hollie Geitner

Electric buses are part of the authority’s focus on sustainability, Brandolph said.

The buses cost around $800,000, up from the $450,000 to $500,000 cost of a diesel-powered vehicle. Last year the Federal Transit Administration authorized a $1.9 million grant to help the authority with purchases of electric buses.

Brandolph said the authority will purchase additional electric buses for a planned bus rapid transit route between Downtown and Oakland.

He said it takes about a year to receive a bus after it is ordered. The electric buses arrived about a month ago. Brandolph said the Port Authority wanted to train mechanics and drivers and Pittsburgh first responders before putting them into service.

©2020 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) Tribune Content Agency, LLC.