County Executive George Latimer Announces First All Electric Bus to Bee-Line Fleet

 For the first time in Westchester County history, the County is running all electric busses.  The County has added six all electric Bee-Line Busses on the fleet.  The busses, which are all part of the clean fleet initiative, are two 40-foot buses and four 35-foot buses.  County Executive George Latimer will be on hand to welcome the first of the new buses, a New Flyer Xcelsior XE35 electric bus, to Westchester on Tuesday, August 31 at 2p.m.

Liberty Lines

101 Grasslands Road

Valhalla, NY 10595

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Latimer said: “This is an exciting day for commuters and the environment.  The unveiling of our first all-electric bus shows Westchester County’s commitment to modernizing its fleet with greener vehicles. In addition to meeting our sustainability goals by reducing emissions, these new electric buses will save the County money by providing the system with significant fuel savings.”  

The first of the six is a 35-foot bus with 32 seats and each bus is expected to save approximately 5,000 gallons of fuel per year compared to a traditional diesel bus, while pre­vent­ing green­house gas emis­sions from pol­lut­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Hugh Greechan said: “We have made it a pri­or­ity to re­place our ex­ist­ing bus fleet with new, energy efficient cleaner mod­els.  We are excited to add the first all-electric bus to our Bee-Line fleet and implement charging infrastructure at our bus garage in Valhalla. These buses will provide a smooth exhaust free ride for our Bee-Line passengers who rely on our system to get them where they need to go.”

The new bus includes amenities like USB charging ports at every seat, a bike rack, 14 cameras for added security and a protective shield for operators.  The cost of the new bus was $969,028.  The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”) through its New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program is providing $326,357 in Volkswagen settlement funding for the purchase of the bus. The New York Power Authority (NYPA), with its main office in White Plains, is installing six electric vehicle chargers within the bus depot to charge the new buses that the County will own and operate. NYPA’s $1.7 million project includes $682,000 in Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement funding through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). NYPA is also working more broadly with Westchester to provide a masterplan to determine how the County can make additional investments in order to reach its 25 percent electric transit goal by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.

The Bee-Line currently has 325 buses in its fleet, 177 of which are hybrid diesel-electric. In 2018 the County added 78 hybrid diesel-electric 60-foot articulated buses to its fleet.  In addition, the County is in the process of procuring 106 forty-foot hybrid diesel-electric buses which will be delivered in 2022.  These buses will replace diesel buses. 

County Director of Energy & Sustainability Peter McCartt said: “As our fleet ages out, the County Executive has mandated that their replacements be only electric or plug-in electric vehicles – saving money, our lungs, and the planet. So we have been and will continue adding Chevy Bolts, Chrysler Pacificas, and Toyota Prius Primes along with these wonderful electric buses. Procurement of these vehicles is the relatively easy part in comparison to the infrastructure needed to power all of them, so we also thank the Department of Public Works and Transportation, New York Power Authority, and NYSERDA for all of their expertise and hard work to make this electric charging available.” 

NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said: “Westchester County is leading the way in embracing New York State’s transition to zero-emission public transit. Replacing diesel-powered buses is a key step in cleaning the air along our roadways and achieving our statewide clean energy goals. The New York Power Authority fully supports this public transit electrification effort which will help develop more community awareness about this cleaner, more efficient and quieter means of getting around the region.”

President, North America Bus and Coach Chris Stoddart said: “We are thrilled to be part of Westchester County's first electric bus delivery as they transition to clean mobility. We look forward to continuing to work with Westchester County through this new order, which will help create cleaner and more livable communities.”

The Bee-Line is Westchester County's bus system, serving over 27 million passengers annually with convenient service connecting residents to jobs, recreation, shopping and other regional transportation services. It is the second largest transit bus fleet in New York State, operated by the County’s Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T).  Over 65 percent of all Westchester County residents are within walking distance of a Bee-Line bus route, making the bus both close and convenient.  The system has over 3,300 bus stops and almost 60 routes.  All Bee-Line buses are accessible and designed with many accessibility features including “kneeling” buses, ramps and lifts.

Submitted by Somers, NY

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