Earlier this week it was announced that SEPTA would receive a Federal Transportation Administration grant that would give the transit authority close to $2.6 million to bring emissions-free buses to the city.
If you happen to be a frequent bus commuter in South Philly, you may be one of the first to test out these new buses. The pilot program prior to the release of these buses citywide involves just two routes. The Route 29 bus that runs from Pier 70 to 33rd and Dickinson, along with the Route 79 bus that runs from Columbus Commons to 29th and Snyder, are the first two lines that will be introducing this more eco-friendly commuting option.
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The Federal Transportation Administration grant, announced Tuesday, will help pay for 25 electric buses from Proterra, a California-based manufacturer. Matt Horton, one of the company’s senior vice presidents, said SEPTA’s order was one of the largest from a major transit agency.
The new 40-foot buses should hold up to 77 passengers and will travel Routes 29 and 79 in South Philadelphia, chosen because they are flat and short, good testing ground for a pilot program. The grant money will also help pay for two charging stations. The buses will likely be launched next spring, Horton said. The agency has yet to decide where the charging stations will be located, officials said.
SEPTA is modernizing its fleet by buying 525 buses this year, and the grant will help pay for the $100,000-a-bus difference between SEPTA’s standard hybrid and the electric vehicles, Burnfield said.