WMATA plans its first all-electric bus garage

Sept. 21, 2021
The authority will rebuild its Northern Bus Garage to accommodate a new zero-emission fleet, while preserving its history that stretches back 115 years.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will build its first all-electric bus garage in northwest Washington, D.C.

The Northern Bus Garage Reconstruction Project, which will take approximately four years to build, will include the infrastructure and equipment needed to run 100 percent electric vehicles. WMATA’s Board of Directors committed to transition to a full zero-emission fleet by 2045 and will start purchasing zero-emission only vehicles by 2030.

“This is an important step forward in Metro’s commitment to help our region reduce its environmental footprint, improve public health and modernize our facilities,” said WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We appreciate the board’s leadership in contributing to the clean air targets shared by Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.”

WMATA’s planned phased conversion of the 1,500-vehicle Metrobus fleet will allow the authority to purchase vehicles as zero-emission technologies continue to improve to ensure consistent service reliability. It will also enable WMATA and its regional partners to make needed investments in facilities, electric utility infrastructure and workforce training to support the fleet transition.

The Northern Bus Garage started as a streetcar storage facility for Capital Traction Company when it opened in 1906. The building’s basement was leased for bus maintenance and storage in 1926 before it was converted into a full bus garage in 1959. WMATA took ownership of the garage in 1966. The Northern Bus Garage is currently out of service due to its deteriorating condition.

The 115-year-old building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites and WMATA says it is committed to preserving the building while rebuilding it to serve as a safe, modern and environmentally friendly garage.

When the facility reopens, it will feature modern air filtration systems, solar panels and additional LEED characteristics, providing an environmentally responsible building for employees and community.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

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