Schedule will incorporate state-of-the-art technology
while maintaining reliability, efficiency standards
BALTIMORE, MD (December 21, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) is launching a transition plan to move to a zero-emission bus (ZEB) fleet as older, diesel-fueled and hybrid buses reach the end of their useful life. The incremental approach will include facility updates, and is designed to meet the requirements of Maryland’s new Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act, which mandates all new buses procured for the state’s transit fleet be emission-free beginning in 2023.
“We’re proud to continue our commitment to sustainability and reduce the agency’s carbon footprint,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold. “Zero emission buses are a win-win for the citizens of Maryland who get to enjoy cleaner air while knowing their transit agency is doing its part to address climate change.”
Per targets identified in the Central Maryland Regional Transit Plan and guided by the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act Plan by the Maryland Department of the Environment, MDOT MTA has established several overall goals in undertaking the transition to a ZEB fleet. The agency has committed to converting 50% of its bus fleet to zero-emission by 2030 while seamlessly providing reliable, efficient service throughout the transition and beyond.
Transitioning to zero-emission buses will improve the region’s overall air quality while providing passengers with a comfortable ride. MDOT MTA calculations project that about 500 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided through use of electric buses instead of diesel buses in the years between 2025-2030. Noise pollution also will be reduced.
“The phased conversion of MDOT MTA’s bus fleet to clean, efficient, zero-emissions buses is a critical element of our systemwide modernization,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “We’re using technology and innovation to improve service, operations, connectivity and the rider experience. Zero-emission buses serve that mission, and also advance Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
Zero-emission vehicles have grown in popularity in recent years. Agencies in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. have begun utilizing zero-emission vehicles. While MDOT MTA plans to deploy battery-electric buses in the initial years of the ZEB transition, the agency will continue to evaluate developments in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This approach will enable the agency to purchase the newest, smartest technology as advancements occur in this rapidly evolving field. It also gives MDOT MTA time to develop infrastructure – such as charging stations – and employee training necessary to efficiently operate and maintain this technology.
MDOT MTA’s first pilot ZEB program is scheduled for launch in 2023, when seven new battery-electric 40-foot and 60-foot articulated buses will arrive at the agency’s Kirk Division.
Purchase of the new buses for this pilot program and the infrastructure for charging them will utilize grant funding from the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program from the Federal Transit Administration, and the Volkswagen Settlement.
The Kirk Division is slated to become the first division to be converted to a 100% electric bus facility by the end of 2026. The Northwest Division, which will begin a retrofit in early 2025, will highlight the second phase of the ZEB program with electric buses arriving in 2026.
The Eastern Division is anticipated to begin its reconstruction in 2026 and is planned to become one of the few facilities in the U.S. that are purpose-built zero-emission bus facilities, housing a zero-emission bus fleet starting in 2028. Beginning in 2030, the Bush Division is planned for a series of similar infrastructure investments.
MDOT MTA is one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. MDOT MTA operates LocalLink Bus service, Commuter Bus, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, MARC Train service and a comprehensive Mobility paratransit system. MDOT MTA’s goal is to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. As a participating agency in APTA’s Health and Safety Commitment Program, MDOT MTA is dedicated to keeping our employees and passengers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, visit https://www.mta.maryland.gov or check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/mtamaryland, YouTube.com/TheMTAMaryland and follow us on Twitter @mtamaryland
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