Connecticut’s first 22-foot hydrogen-powered bus launched today amid fanfare befitting its importance. Developed by the Greater New Haven Transit District, this HyRide vehicle is the first of its kind to serve the senior population.
The GNHTD already provides transportation to seniors and people with disabilities, and now HyRide will enhance this service with minimal environmental impact while taking these passengers throughout Hamden to shopping centers for food, clothing, and bank errands; to pharmacies and more.
This project has been made possible through federal and state funds. It has received support from many who attended the launch and spoke to HyRide’s importance and impact, including the honorable Dannel P. Malloy, governor of Connecticut. In a proclamation, Gov. Malloy recognized the Greater New Haven Transit District for its commitment to Connecticut and its environment.
“I commend the Greater New Haven Transit District for taking this important step toward building a modern, efficient transportation network throughout the community. Through a variety of initiatives, Connecticut is making great progress in reducing our demand for foreign oil, protecting the environment and making transportation cleaner and more accessible to those who need it. HyRide will certainly benefit Hamden seniors, but is also a great step forward for the rest of the state,” said Gov. Malloy.
Donna Carter, executive director of the GNHTD, said this venture began more than a decade ago with electric battery-operated trolley replicas. “If we had not operated those trolleys, we probably never would have considered exploring the opportunity for other alternatively fueled vehicles,” Carter said. “Those trolleys got us hooked!”
In addition to launching the bus, the agency is expecting delivery of a hydrogen-powered vehicle from Ford in August, she said, and the following month it will open its own hydrogen fueling station at Hamden’s municipal garage.
Should experience prove that hydrogen is a viable alternative fuel, the GNHTD will shift more of its fleet to that power source, according to Carter.
“This new shopping shuttle will help meet the transportation needs of local seniors, reduce pollution in our community, and save the state from paying for thousands of gallons of fuel. And by collaborating with innovative local companies like Proton Onsite and Avalence, this project is helping to drive our local economy," said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. "I am very proud to support these efforts, which is why I helped secure $3 million in transportation appropriations funds for the Connecticut Hydrogen Transit Vehicle Development Project. Investing in new clean and renewable energy technologies is vitally important for our economy, for our nation’s future and for our children’s future, and I look forward to seeing many more of these vehicles on the road in the months and years to come.”
Representative J. Brendan Sharkey championed a $250,000 grant from the state to help fund the creation of the Hydrogen powered bus as well as the fueling station at the Hamden Public works garage which is expected to be built later this year.
“Emerging technologies take vision and persistence to realize. I'm pleased to have worked with all of the visionaries here today to bring this project to fruition,” stated Representative and House Majority Leader Sharkey.
"This is a fabulous day, not only for Hamden, but all areas served by the Greater New Haven Transit District. It's with great pride to welcome the first hydrogen bus serving seniors and persons with disabilities in the area. I applaud this accomplishment and look forward to the many great environmental achievements that will come from this agency in the future," stated Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson.
A collaborative effort and vision turned today’s launch of this 22 foot HyRide vehicle that will serve the senior population and people with disabilities into a reality. For the Greater New Haven Transit District it is one step in their mission to embrace alternative fuel sources for transit vehicles.