An electric bus system is being trialled in NYC as part of an ongoing programme to improve the overground public transport in the area.
Initial tests of the electric bus system have been positive, with the second phase examining new routes to improve efficiency on the maligned transportation network. According to Quartz, the NYC bus system ‘serves over two million passengers across all five boroughs with 5,700 buses, 330 routes, and 16,000 stops, and it operates in a uniquely hostile environment of stop-and-go traffic,’ however, it is also one of the most cumbersome public transport methods in the States. ‘The average NYC bus travels only 7.4 miles per hour—one of the slowest bus speeds in the US.’
Bus manufacturers Proterra and New Flyer have provided a small number of electric buses which were brought onto the streets last week as part of a three year trial period. The current routes being served are located in Brooklyn and Queens, but if the trial is a success, then the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has pledged to purchase another 60 vehicles from the companies involved.
‘Proterra’s chief commercial officer Matt Horton believes the timing of New York’s pilot isn’t an accident. “There really has been a convergence of factors over the last four or five years that has made this a really good time for New York to jump in,” he says. The costs of batteries, power train elements, and manufacturing have fallen, making electric buses cheaper to operate than diesel over their lifetime. A May 2016 Columbia University study (pdf) commissioned by NYC transit places lifetime savings at $168,000; Proterra says its buses save $448,000.
Electric buses can now survive longer operational hours and outperform diesel buses on energy efficiency and speed of acceleration. “There are now so many customers that have had great experiences with their electric buses,” says Horton.
“Nearly every agency that we talk to has either already bought electric buses or is planning to within the next year or so,” he adds. “We are very, very confident that [the US] market is actually going to go to 100% battery electric in a little more than a decade.”’