City misses the bus on electric transit | Ecology Action Centre

City misses the bus on electric transit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 20, 2019

K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – Halifax will stick with the status quo for its next fleet of busses despite significant new federal and provincial funding opportunities to go electric.  Last Friday, the city put out a tender for the next three years of busses. Although efficiency is part of the criteria, there is no mention of electric buses in the plan or strategy. 


Kelsey  Lane, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre says it’s a missed opportunity. 


“Over the course of one year, an EV bus saves approximately 62.56 tons of emissions compared to using a diesel bus,” Lane says. “As Nova Scotia Power transitions to renewable sources of energy, the GHG savings will be even more significant over time.” 


“If this tender is awarded for the maximum amount of diesel buses, it puts us three years behind realistic and necessary measures to reduce GHGs from the transportation sector,” Lane says. 


Electric transit has a higher ticket price, but the additional costs can be offset. Operating costs of electric buses are a fraction of the cost of diesel buses due to the savings associated with maintenance and fuel.  


“Though the initial changing infrastructure and capital costs are more with electric buses, the programs and funding opportunities offered by other levels of government make it an economically viable option for Halifax Transit, and offers savings over the long term,” Lane says. 


WSP report to Halifax regional council from December 4, 2017, estimates system-wide partial adoption would result in $163 million saved over the 20-year forecast period. 


This tender is for the replacement of buses over the next three years. The new vehicles will remain in the transit system for the next 15 years before they need to be replaced.  


Lane says the tender doesn’t mean Halifax will never get electric buses, but it is absolutely a missed opportunity, especially given current federal and provincial funding opportunities. The mandate letter for the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities also references federal funding for public transit to support zero-emission buses and rail systems starting in 2023. 


“We have to do the work take advantage of opportunities to reduce GHG’s that are on our doorstep. Now is a strategic time for a pilot project to electrify transit buses and capitalize on current funding opportunities and programs with the funding we were going to spend on buses anyways,” Lane says. “We shouldn’t be waiting for another three years to start an electric bus pilot we promised in 2018.”  




For more information please contact: 

Kelsey Lane, 
Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre 

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