MTA adds 60 electric buses to Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn routes

May 15, 2024
The agency is also working with NYPA to build critical infrastructure to power a zero-emissions bus fleet, which the MTA hopes to fully transition to a zero-emissions fleet by 2040.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is introducing 60 new electric buses that will operate on routes in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn, N.Y. MTA and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) are building critical infrastructure to power a zero-emissions bus fleet, including installing 17 new bus charge points at Grand Avenue Bus Depot in Queens. The new electric buses supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050 and the MTA’s goal of operating a 100 percent zero-emission bus fleet by 2040. According to the MTA, a 100 percent zero-emissions bus fleet means the agency will avoid a further 500,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. 

“These new electric buses will play a key role in ensuring New Yorkers can get to where they’re going safely and sustainably,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. “Zero-emission buses are becoming the hallmark of our transit systems, demonstrating the importance of building healthy, environmentally friendly cities."  

The buses, delivered by New Flyer of America Inc. feature lightweight electric traction drive systems that allow buses to recover up to 90 percent of energy during braking. The regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brakes and maximizes energy efficiency. The buses are paid for with almost $70 million in formula funds from the Federal Transit Administration, including almost $20 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The NYPA recently completed the installation of 17 fast charging systems points – known as autonomous pantograph dispensers because they “dispense” energy through roof mounted arms that automatically connect with the buses. Buses will park underneath the arms at the Grand Avenue Bus Depot and Central Maintenance Facility in Queens. Another 46 are under construction at the Herkimer lot in east New York in Brooklyn and the Charleston facility in Staten Island, to be complete by the end of 2024. An on-street pantograph that will serve buses needing to “top off” their batteries between daily runs is almost complete under the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn.  

The $188 million second phase of work will bring 220 additional overhead pantograph charging systems to Grand Avenue and four other depots in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. In addition, several depots will require electric distribution upgrades in conjunction with Consolidated Edison, Inc. (Con Edison). The contract will deploy multiple charging manufacturers, a sophisticated charge management system to help balance the electrical loads and a long-term service agreement to help maintain reliable bus charging.  

“Every mile on these buses is a mile run less on fossil fuels—a victory every day for sustainability,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “As the largest public bus system in North America, we are leading the way to a greener future, revolutionizing public transportation, one electric bus at a time.”  

“The New York Power Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are making significant progress in building out infrastructure to support the electrification of the nation’s largest bus fleet,” said NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “An influx of 60 new buses and a rapidly increasing number of chargers will set New York City on a firm path to a clean transportation system that will have zero-emission buses traveling through every New York City borough by 2026.”  

The MTA is collaborating closely with Con Edison to source new power for bus charging. Work to transform bus depots to support electric buses includes building lanes inside depots that are specific for electric buses and restructuring areas to accommodate overhead pantograph dispensers, which charge buses. The devices energize the buses efficiently, ensuring they are always ready for service.   

The MTA expects to start receiving its next order of 205 electric buses in late 2025. The agencies are also negotiating an option to secure another 265 battery electric buses at six depots starting in 2027, which would bring electric buses to a total of 11 depots. The delivery builds on the MTA’s previous order of 15 zero-emissions vehicles in 2019, which currently serve routes in Manhattan.  

“We’re shaping a future where our buses not only connect neighborhoods, but also protect our planet,” said New York City (NYC) Transit President Richard Davey. “Adopting zero emissions buses means cleaner air, a more resilient transit system and customers will enjoy the quieter rides they provide – it's a true win, win.”   

“This delivery marks some exciting milestones in our zero-emissions strategy, including our first 40-foot buses, first autonomous pantograph charging and first collaboration with our partners at NYPA and Con Edison,” said NYC Transit Senior Vice President of Buses Frank Annicaro. “I’m proud of the hard work accomplished to get here and we remain committed to prioritizing the deployment of these buses to those low-income and minority communities that need them the most.”