MBTA Board Awards Contract To Purchase Battery Electric Buses

Special to the Times 

The MBTA Board of Directors awarded a $119 million contract to New Flyer of America Inc. for the production and delivery of 80 new, low-floor, 40-foot battery electric buses (BEBs). This vehicle contract award includes an initial base order of 48 conventional BEBs and 32 BEBs with street-side boarding capability. This contract also provides the MBTA options to purchase up to an additional 380 BEBs.

“This contract demonstrates the T’s commitment toward reducing its emissions and is another step toward reaching our climate goals,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Philip Eng. “In addition to reducing the Authority’s greenhouse gas emissions, these 40-foot battery electric buses have many amenities to enhance our riders’ experience, like flip-up seats, accessibility features, and dual-sided passenger information screens. I would like to thank the MBTA Board of Directors for approving this contract award, our Vehicle Engineering and Vehicle Procurement teams for their hard work on this project, our Bus Modernization team for their diligent work in supporting the T’s fleet and facilities transition to BEBs, and our Finance team for their work in securing federal funding for this procurement last summer.”

The MBTA is committed to social equity, sustainability, and energy conservation. Supporting the Commonwealth’s Net Zero emissions targets, the BEBs purchased under this procurement will reduce transportation emissions, which will result in better air quality within MBTA communities. The procurement, which is part of the Authority’s fleet replacement plan, positions the MBTA to meet the 2022 Massachusetts Climate Law mandate, which requires the T to purchase zero-emission buses only after 2029 and fully electrify its fleet by 2040.

The 40-foot New Flyer BEBs will have a range of 120 miles and feature industry-leading safety features, including the ability to monitor the BEB high voltage battery systems and provide early fault detection. Other features include an enhanced security barrier for bus operators and ADA accommodations that meet or exceed federal requirements. Street-side capability is also an important feature that allows the BEBs to service the Harvard busway. The street-side boarding BEBs also include an additional accessibility ramp located at the rear street-side door. The contract award includes options for advanced driver safety assistance systems and on-board LCD passenger information screens.

The BEBs will replace the MBTA’s aging 2008-2009 New Flyer Emissions Controlled Diesel (ECD) fleet and the retired 2004 Neoplan Electric Trolley Bus (ETB) fleet. The contract awarded today will result in the delivery of 10 pre-production buses (five conventional BEBs and five street-side boarding BEBs) next summer. The delivery schedule will then be coordinated with targeted openings of the upgraded North Cambridge bus facility anticipated in 2025 and the upcoming new Quincy bus facility anticipated in 2026. With a design that is 100% complete, the renovated and modernized North Cambridge facility will be outfitted with state-of-the-art battery electric bus chargers and a control system to accommodate 32 BEBs. The new Quincy facility will provide inside storage and maintenance bays to accommodate up to 120 BEBs in a new, all-indoor, modern garage.

Funding for this BEB procurement comes in part from an unprecedented $116 million federal grant that the MBTA received in FY22 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Federal Transit Administration Low- and No-Emission grant program. This award was the largest in the nation for this grant cycle (tied with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and provides a significant boost to the T’s aggressive transition toward an entirely zero-emission fleet of over 1,100 buses by 2040.

The total contract amount awarded today to New Flyer of America Inc. is $119,087,982.

For more information, please visit mbta.com, or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA and @MBTA_CR, Facebook /TheMBTA, Instagram @theMBTA, or TikTok @thembta.

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