Durham Region Transit secures grant and loan from government of Canada for electric fleet transition

April 27, 2023
The C$12.1 million grant will support a pilot project while the federal loan of up to C$62 million will support the purchase of up to 98 electric buses as DRT targets 2037 to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Durham Region Transit (DRT) has partnered with Infrastructure Canada, Nova Bus and the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) in support of its transition to an electric bus fleet. A combined investment of up to C$74.1 million (US$54.45 million) in the form of a federal grant and loan will assist the transit provider in purchasing up to 104 zero-emission buses. The milestone marks a positive step forward in DRT’s E-Mission Zero program, a suite of emission-reducing initiatives to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions through a sustainable network of vehicles, infrastructure and facilities by 2037.

“The introduction of these first battery electric buses will allow us to assess and plan for our transition to a full fleet of zero-emission vehicles by 2037. The financing from the Canada Infrastructure Bank is a key step towards achieving our E-Mission Zero goals, and we look forward to serving our communities while supporting a sustainable future for the region,” said DRT General Manager Bill Holmes.

Funding for electric bus pilot

DRT’s electric bus pilot project is being funded through the Canada Community-Building Fund, a federal initiative administered by Infrastructure Canada. The C$12.1 million (US$8.9 million) fund will assist with the purchase of six 12-meter battery electric buses and charging infrastructure.

The electric buses, to be supplied by Nova Bus, will be the region’s first zero greenhouse gas emission vehicles in the public transit fleet and are expected to be in service by fall 2024. The required charging infrastructure for these buses will be supplied and installed by EnerFORGE, part of the Oshawa Power Group of Companies.

“We are proud and honored to partner with DRT to provide the region with its first electric buses. This is an important milestone for the region and for Nova Bus, as we are collectively working towards greener transit. We are delighted to support our partners in their transition to zero emission fleets,” said Ralph Acs, president, Nova Bus.

Financing for the purchase of additional electric buses

In addition to the pilot project, DRT has signed a credit agreement with the CIB, which will be used to purchase up to 98 additional electric buses. This agreement provides the region with low interest financing of up to C$62 million (US$45.5 million) over the next four years.

The CIB’s loan will help cover the higher upfront capital costs of zero- emission buses helping to accelerate the electrification of Durham Region’s bus fleet. Repayment of the loan is expected to be sourced from savings through the reduced maintenance and fuel costs over the life of the electric buses as compared to diesel buses.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to improving the quality of life of all Canadians. Through flexible funding programs like the Canada Community-Building Fund, communities across the country are able to invest more in sustainable transit projects. As a result of this funding from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, Durham Region Transit’s new zero-emission buses will help to build a cleaner and more accessible community for residents to enjoy for many years to come,” said Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Pickering-Uxbridge Jennifer O’Connell.