BURLINGTON, Vt. – Green Mountain Transit entered what some hope is the future of public transportation as state and city leaders were on hand Tuesday for the unveiling of the state’s first two electric buses.
The vehicles arrived in Burlington earlier this month and will be ready for daily passengers in March. Initially, they will service GMT’s busiest route: the Red Line from North Avenue to Williston Road, which averages close to 62,000 passengers a month.
The buses, which will charge overnight, replace two buses that use 7,000 gallons of diesel annually.
“We all know that about half the emissions that contribute to climate change come from the transportation sector, and that’s why efforts like this are so significant and important,” said Gov. Phil Scott. “The transition to electric vehicles is something I’m really excited about.”
The buses and charging equipment totaled $2 million, with most of the funding provided by GMT and state and federal sources. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the buses are another step in the city’s decades-long history of environmental consciousness and a sign of what is to come.
“If we can electrify these vehicles, I think it’s a great sign that we can electrify the rest of the fleet and more rapidly towards the goals laid out in the city’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap,” Weinberger said.
A handful of attendees at Tuesday’s event took a test ride, traveling from the GMT headquarters to downtown Burlington with curious pedestrians watching on the way. Among other destinations, the Red Line services the University of Vermont and the University Mall.
Vermont Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn said more electric buses are on the way.
“We also have two buses coming to Montpelier, three buses coming to the White River Junction area, and two buses coming to Rutland, all within the next two years,” Flynn said.