Durham transit is getting another funding boost for its electric bus project.
The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) Board of Directors recently approved $195,000 in funding over two years for the “Scaling-up to Zero Emission Transit in Durham Region” to support Durham Region Transit (DRT) in advancing with their project. Support includes specifications for the buses and charging infrastructure, and key project components such as training, re-tooling, software and performance monitoring, all of which are essential steps to support the procurement of the vehicles in 2021 and to prepare for their arrival in 2022.
“TAF is supporting Durham Region Transit’s electrification initiative because it’s a key route to zero carbon cities and has many local benefits, including job creating and improved health,” says Julia Langer, CEO of TAF.
In November 2019, Durham Region Council committed $10.1 million in federal gas tax funding towards DRT’s first battery electric buses and charging infrastructure. The funding is part of a pilot project to transform the region’s transit fleet to zero emission buses over the next 10 years.
The project will also help with the design of a new bus depot with the capability to support a 100 per cent zero emission fleet, with design work on the new depot expected to begin in 2021.
As part of the project, in partnership with Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC), DRT will be examining infrastructure requirements and business model best practices, as well as determining specifications for the design, build, finance, operations and maintenance of electric bus charging solutions and associated grid upgrades at its Oshawa garage location.
OPUC President and CEO Ivano Labricciosa says Durham transit is looking to shrink its carbon footprint, noting Oshawa Power is proud to help bring Durham Region and the people of Oshawa to that forefront.
According to Labricciosa, scaling-up to zero emission transit over the next 10 years is expected to save an estimated 450 Mega Tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases between now and 2030.
“As a community-minded organization, it’s important that we enable leading energy projects like this,” says Labricciosa. “DRT’s efforts will lead to transformative carbon reductions and service improvements across Durham, making us a very proud collaborator and project partner,” he adds.
With a goal of transitioning to a fleet of nearly 200 buses to zero-emission technology by 2030, DRT will implement the first round of eight battery electric buses and charging technologies to gather information and will enable DRT to acquire the necessary expertise and data to plan the effective transition of the fleet to zero-emission technologies, and to design its new bus depot to include zero-emission buses.
“Durham Region Transit is excited to be able to explore electric technology options, including battery electric and hybrids, for future fleet acquisitions,” says DRT General Manager Bill Holmes. “We are grateful for the funding provided by TAF and are eager to move forward with informing our plans for a zero-emission fleet at DRT.”