Electric buses and a cleaner, greener NY
BY PATRICK FOYE
As New York emerges from this unprecedented
public health emergency,
another crisis looms on the horizon in
the form of climate change. We at the
MTA are committed to addressing this
One way we can all do our part is by
choosing cleaner, greener public transportation.
Every year, the MTA avoids a
net 17 million metric tons of greenhouse
gases through its operations, and riding
with us is the key reason why New Yorkers
have the lowest carbon footprint per
capita in the nation.
This is the magic of mass transit: it
benefi ts those who use it and even those
who don’t, by providing cleaner air for
everyone in the region.
But we can do even better by further
reducing diesel use in our operations
wherever possible. The MTA was already
committed to purchasing only allelectric
buses by 2028 – now we’re ramping
up that commitment in our next bus
At Governor Cuomo’s urging, we’re
now buying 60 zero-emission buses, 15
more than we had originally planned
— a 33% increase. To provide more perspective,
that’s four times larger than
our last electric bus order. The new
mini fl eet will operate in each of the
fi ve boroughs and we expect the fi rst of
those new buses to roll onto the streets
of NYC late next year.
The MTA is serious about delivering
on the promise of a zero-emission
fl eet by 2040. We already operate 25 allelectric
buses, and the historic 2020-
2024 Capital Program includes $1.1
billion in funding to buy another 500,
along with required charging infrastructure
at eight of our depots.
BRONX TIMES R 12 EPORTER, JUNE 4-10, 2021 BTR
As we’ve learned from our current
zero-emission pilot, operating these vehicles
requires signifi cant power and
infrastructure. To provide the kind of
resiliency and redundancy we need,
we’re partnering with the New York
Power Authority to install more than
50 overhead chargers at fi ve locations
citywide to support the new buses.
Beyond the obvious environmental
impact, modernizing our infrastructure
in this way will also provide
overdue improvements in terms of social
equity. The majority of our bus depots
in the city are located in low and
moderate-income communities, with
routes running disproportionately
through these neighborhoods as a critical
lifeline for residents.
Conversion to an all-electric fl eet
will help to signifi cantly improve
air quality by reducing emissions —
which in turn will reduce asthma, emphysema,
and other respiratory diseases.
We have a once-in-a-generation infrastructure
opportunity with the
Biden administration in Washington
to advance our climate goals, and we
thank President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg
and our hometown hero, Senate
Majority Leader Schumer, for their
leadership in this area. They have made
clear that climate change, accessibility
and equity are key priorities.
Those have also long been key priorities
at the MTA, and with their critical
backing, we can take our efforts to the
next level and lead the nation in sustainability
— as we always have — to leave a
better planet for our children and their
children, and generations to come.
Patrick Foye is chair and CEO of
MTA Chairman Pat Foye with Executive Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow (left)
at the Columbus Circle station on May 16. Photo by Mark Hallum
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