Pittsburgh Port Authority to Add Six Electric Buses to Fleet

Using electric buses is part of a partnership between Port Authority and Duquesne Light Co., which is providing the charging stations. In exchange, the authority will share data about the buses.

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(TNS) — Port Authority expects to receive six additional electric buses by the end of 2021.

The authority board’s performance and oversight committee Wednesday recommended the board approve paying $6.5 million to buy the additional buses when it meets next week. The authority received its first two electric buses from New Flyer in Minnesota earlier this year and the contract included an option to buy six more over the next five years.

The agency put the 40-foot buses into service in late March on the 88-Penn route that runs between Downtown Pittsburgh and the East End via Penn Avenue. Spokesman Adam Brandolph said that after “some initial hiccups with charging” the buses have performed well.

The new buses, which won’t arrive until the end of next year, are expected to be used on a variety of routes to test their performance. The proposed Bus Rapid Transit system between Downtown and Oakland is expected to use 15 articulated, 60-foot electric buses when it begins service in 2022.

The agency will pay for the new buses through three grants: $3.13 million through a Federal Transit Administration program for transit vehicle purchases in urbanized areas; $2.24 million in FTA funds for buying vehicles with little or no emissions; and $1.1 million in state transportation funds.

Using electric buses is part of a partnership between Port Authority and Duquesne Light Co., which is providing the charging station at the authority’s East Liberty garage. In exchange, the authority will share data about the buses to help Duquesne Light learn the effect the buses have on the electricity grid as the utility promotes future electric vehicle service.

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