New York City Aims for All-Electric Bus Fleet by 2040

NYC has more than 5,700 MTA buses. Taking the fleet electric would reduce climate-warming emissions and cut fuel, maintenance and health costs.

New York City plans to convert its public bus system to an all-electric fleet by 2040, a new target announced this week by NYC Transit President Andy Byford.
“It does depend on the maturity of the technology—both the bus technology and the charging technology—but we are deadly serious about moving to an all-electric fleet,” Byford, who became head of NYC Transit in January, said at a Metropolitan Transit Authority board meeting on Wednesday.

Byford’s comments follow an ambitious action plan released on Monday that seeks to address flagging ridership and sluggish service on the nation’s largest municipal bus network. The average speed of an MTA bus in Manhattan is among the slowest of large metropolitan systems at 5.7 miles per hour. That means pollution from idling engines is much higher per mile than if the buses were going faster.

The plans calls for a “transition to a zero-emissions fleet to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Environmental and community advocates applauded the plan.

“It’s a surprising development and a big deal big because this is the largest transit fleet in the country, with over 5,000 buses—that is the equivalent to over 100,000 electric cars,” Kenny Bruno, a clean energy consultant, said. “It’s a big deal on climate change and public health. All New Yorkers will benefit, not just drivers and passengers but everyone who lives along bus routes and depots, a lot of whom have high asthma rates.”

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