Federal grant helps DRT buy six E-buses; Oshawa Power to supply charging infrastructure

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Published April 28, 2023 at 1:20 pm

A $12-plus million federal grant is helping Durham Region Transit (DRT) buy six 12-metre battery electric buses to move the transit company one step closer to its transition to an all-electric fleet.

The electric buses support DRT’s E-Mission Zero, a suite of emission-reducing initiatives to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions through a sustainable network of vehicles, infrastructure and facilities by 2037.

The electric bus pilot project is made possible through the Canada Community-Building Fund, a federal initiative administered by Infrastructure Canada. This $12.1 million grant buys the E-buses – to be supplied by Nova Bus – and the charging infrastructure, which will be supplied and installed by EnerFORGE, part of the Oshawa Power Group of Companies.

The electric buses will be the Region’s first zero greenhouse gas emission vehicles in the public transit fleet and are expected to be in service by fall 2024.

“In terms of helping build sustainable communities, today’s announcement means Durham Region can leap forward,” Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull at the announcement Wednesday. “This is a massive win for our communities, and will improve public transportation and decrease operating costs, while reducing emissions and protecting our environment.”

Durham Chair John Henry called the deal a “significant milestone” that will “help sustain the benefits of electric buses into the future” while DRT General Manager said it was a “key step” towards achieving the transit company’s emission-reducing goals.

In addition to the pilot project, Durham Region and DRT have signed a credit agreement with the Canada Infrastructure Bank to purchase up to 98 additional electric buses. The deal provides the Region with low interest financing of up to $62 million over the next four years.

The CIB’s loan will help cover the higher upfront capital costs of zero emission buses helping to accelerate the electrification of Durham Region’s bus fleet. Repayment of the loan is expected to be sourced from savings through the reduced maintenance and fuel costs over the life of the electric buses as compared to diesel buses.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to improving the quality of life of all Canadians,” said Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell, who cited the “flexible funding” of the program as a way for Ottawa to invest in sustainable transit projects around the country. “Durham Region Transit’s new zero-emission buses will help to build a cleaner and more accessible community for residents to enjoy for many years to come.”

Ajax MP House Leader Mark Holland agreed, saying the deal helps Canada build a “cleaner and more accessible future” for everyone. “Affordable and sustainable transit is essential to strengthening our communities, reducing emissions, and providing more equitable transportation.”

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