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RTS says rollout of electric buses will start this year

Patrick Moussignac
Created: January 13, 2020 07:17 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For years now the City of Rochester has been anticipating adding brand new electric buses to its transit system.

Now that the adequate funding has been in place the Regional Transit System says the new buses are expected to hit the roads later this year.

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Rochester is joining Buffalo, Albany and both Suffolk and Westchester Counties where electric buses will be available for use by daily commuters.

New York has been rolling out its plan to put electric buses on the roads all across the state. The first phase calls for 25% of all bus fleets to be electric in the next five years. A full 100% by 2035.

The City of Rochester will start with 10 electric buses of its own by late summer. 

Rochester resident Darryl Hawkins was excited to hear the news. 

"I think that will be great," Hawkins said. He went on to say, "will save a lot of gas, and save the company a lot of money."

RTS Spokesman Tom Brede told News10NBC this has been in the works since 2017 to help clean up the environment through the use of electric vehicles. 

Brede says the transit system received millions of dollars through state and federal grants. Money even came from a cash settlement from the Volkswagen Emissions court case.

Once on the roads the buses will provide valuable information on how they handle Rochester winters.

"Not only in how do they operate on the road, but how are they for our operators. How are they for our mechanics," Brede said.

Without a diesel engine, Brede says daily commuters will see a big difference. "These buses are going to be very quiet. You'll hear obviously the wheels on the road." 

What commuters will not see is an increase in bus fares. 

"We're committed to keeping that dollar fare in place," Brede said. He finished by saying, "It’s easy for our customers. They know it’s one of the lowest fares in the country, and it’s something we're proud of."

Darryl Hawkins agrees, "RTS is doing what they gotta do. They're helping us out, and that's a good thing." 

According to the RTS, each electric bus costs about $900,000, compared to just $500,000 for the current diesel-powered vehicles.


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