Two electric buses enter service on GO Transit lines

May 15, 2023
The buses will be used in commuter service for the first time as the provincial government and Metrolinx continue to evaluate the best strategy to integrate more zero-emission vehicles.

Starting May 15, GO Bus commuters on certain routes will be able to ride the network’s first electric buses. Metrolinx is placing the two double decker Alexander Dennis-made vehicles into service on GO bus routes 19 (Mississauga/North York), 27 (Milton/North York), 92 (Oshawa/Yorkdale) and 96B (Oshawa/Finch Express).

The zero-emission vehicles have been undergoing non-passenger testing since December 2021. This will be the first time they carry commuters. Officials say riders can expect a quieter ride and enhanced amenities, including USB chargers and seatbelts. The buses also feature additional storage space and a pedestrian audible visual alert system that will play a sound and message when the bus is turning or reversing to notify pedestrians and cyclists.

“The launch of these electric buses marks a significant milestone in our government’s plan to be a global leader in the electric vehicle revolution,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We’re building a strong electric vehicle supply chain, securing game changing investments in electric vehicles and battery manufacturing and getting more electric vehicles on the road. The future is electric, and we’re leading the charge.”

Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, who joined Premier Ford at a May 12 event in Oshawa highlighting the electric buses, told attendees “zero-emission technology is the wave of the future.”

Each bus has nine batteries capable of containing 648 kWH of total energy. Metrolinx has chargers at the Streetsville garage in Mississauga and the Steeprock garage in North York where the buses can be charged, a process that takes three to four hours.

The results of the initial testing phase were considered when routes were selected for revenue service to help ensure the buses return to the garage with 20 percent battery capacity. Testing has shown the buses can travel about 225 kilometers (139.8 miles) in colder temperatures and about 300 kilometers (186.4 miles) in warmer temperatures without needing a charge.

Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster explained GO Transit operates routes that can be as long as 650 kilometers (403.9 miles), and the two electric buses entering service will assist in determining what a maximum range might be on the GO Transit system.

“Transit is by its nature inherently more sustainable,” Verster said. “Through innovative eco-friendly solutions like electric vehicles, we will be able to further lower greenhouse gas emissions and expand sustainable travel options throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction 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.