BOSTON, MA (August 7, 2019) – Today, A Better City hosted “Powering the Future: Electrifying and Expanding the MBTA Bus System,” a roundtable event that brought together experts who have begun the important task of identifying the challenges and opportunities of moving toward an electric bus fleet and the need for a new major MBTA bus maintenance facility modernization program.
The event highlighted a newly released A Better City report entitled “New MBTA Bus Maintenance Facilities & Evolving Battery Electric Bus Technology: The Potential for Mixed-use, Public-Private Development.” The study showcases the potential for public-private real estate developments to defray costs associated with construction of new MBTA bus maintenance facilities as part of a broader goal of increasing access to MBTA bus transit, which today features approximately 1,000 buses that serve more than 400,000 riders on weekdays.
“Understanding the opportunities and challenges associated with advancing MBTA bus service in the 21st century is critical given its importance as a transit mode that benefits hundreds of thousands of residents and workers in Massachusetts,” said Richard A. Dimino, President and CEO of A Better City. “Today’s event and release of our newest report on MBTA bus maintenance facilities underscores the importance of elevating bus service in the Commonwealth in the years ahead.”
The new report, which was funded by the Barr Foundation, sheds light on a key transportation infrastructure issue of significance. The report highlights the MBTA’s pressing need for new or updated bus maintenance facilities as set forth in the MBTA Integrated Fleet and Facilities Plan. Currently, more than $875 million in funding is needed to modernize the MBTA’s nine bus maintenance garages, which are, on average, approximately 50 years old. Modernization and expansion of bus maintenance facilities is considered a key for expanded bus service in future years that will be needed to accommodate increased ridership.
At the “Powering the Future” event, transportation leaders from the MBTA, Barr Foundation, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, the Sierra Club, the Ross Center for Sustainable Cities at World Resources Institute, and A Better City led a series of presentations focused on bus electrification planning by public transit agencies across the globe, and the opportunities and challenges of battery-electric buses.