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Two South Philly SEPTA routes to test out new emissions-free buses

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.


Photo from Proterra

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.

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4 Responses to Two South Philly SEPTA routes to test out new emissions-free buses

  1. mark April 20, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    Wise decision. I am impressed.

  2. wander April 20, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Will the buses be moderately quiet or yell really loud recordings at the residents living within a 3-block radius?

  3. Lou_100x April 21, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    Battery powered electric buses, running underneath electrified trolley wires.

    • ProvWitout April 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

      The old trolley and trackless trolly wires that run the length of Snyder Avenue (Mainly the 79 route) are in shambles. They are such an eye sore and need to come down if they’re not to be used.

      Also, that New Jersey inspired catastrophe of a jug-handle loop with the dirt island at 16th and Snyder/Passyunk would require those wires to be re-routed as well. It is a damn shame that money gets spent on these quagmire pavement improvements but the simple task of removing old dangerous wires gets no attention. Not to mention the un-funded school system.

      I like how they are trying battery powered busses though. I loathe breathing in diesel fumes when I have the windows open on an otherwise picture perfect day.

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