Municipalities Examine Feasibility of Electric Bus Fleet
T3 Transit customers and stakeholders will have an opportunity to travel on an electric bus this month as the City of Charlottetown, and towns of Stratford and Cornwall partner with the public transport agency to conduct a market test and examine the feasibility of transitioning to an electric fleet.
The electric bus will travel along Route 1 on University Avenue on Tuesday, March 27. During the demonstration, the bus will be part of the regularly scheduled route with the standard fare for a portion of the day.
“These battery-electric transit buses are expected to reduce greenhouse gas and air contaminant emissions significantly,” said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. “These are essentially zero-emission buses. We couldn’t call ourselves a sustainable city if we didn’t at least explore the idea of running an electric fleet on PEI. We have an opportunity here and I’m pleased that this tri-municipal partnership means that we can take a serious look at the joint costs of an upgraded, efficient fleet that will be quieter for the passengers, improve air quality and, overall, be better for the environment.”
T3 Transit, Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall are working with Newflyer, a diesel bus manufacturer currently promoting a line of electric transit buses, on the demonstration. They will discuss the infrastructure needed to operate an electric fleet and the associated maintenance costs. Should the feasibility test prove positive, the three municipalities, along with T3 Transit, have an opportunity as members of the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) to purchase electric buses for the same price as diesel thanks to funding offered by the national organization.
“Since launching public transit in Stratford in 2008, the service has been improving continuously,” said Stratford Mayor David Dunphy. “With the recent improvements in battery and electrical technology, the feasibility of electric vehicles has improved. We are now investigating the suitability of electrical technology in our bus fleet to ensure that our transit service is both operationally and environmentally sustainable into the future.”
Newflyer is undertaking a maritime tour of Canada with their Xcelsior Charge electric bus to give municipalities and transit authorities the opportunity to experience an electric bus. On Wednesday, March 28, Council representatives from each of the three municipalities, staff and other stakeholders as well as media can tour the bus and ask questions of the manufacturer.
“The Town of Cornwall is excited by recent technological advances in the field of public transit,” said Cornwall Councillor Peter Meggs. “Cornwall residents look forward to the opportunity to view one of Newflyer’s electric buses being demonstrated on our transit route, and we eagerly anticipate future expansion possibilities for T3’s fleet which will further incorporate comfort, efficiency and environmental sustainability.”
It has been a busy year for T3 Transit. The public transport agency recently installed free Wi-Fi on all of its buses and updated its website for easier navigation and access to schedules. ReadyPass, a smart bus technology that provides data to operators for optimizing routes and schedules, will soon be available to all T3 Transit passengers and is currently in beta testing. New transit shelters were also recently installed.
“Modernizing the transit service, improving rider experience and attracting new riders in the capital area has been the focus of these technological upgrades,” said Mike Cassidy, T3 Transit Owner/Operator. “If we are able to begin the transition to a fully electric fleet, it would contribute greatly to these outcomes as well as significantly lower the environmental impact of the transportation system. Definitely, we feel that electric buses are the way of the future.”