Pittsburgh Regional Transit announces plan to transition to zero-emission bus fleet by 2045

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Regional Transit is going electric.

The company announced on Wednesday its plans to transition to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2045.

“Over the last decade, whether at the county or in county agencies, we have focused on working collaboratively and strategically to reduce our impact on the community and environment. This announcement by Pittsburgh Regional Transit is the latest investment in a more sustainable county,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Congratulations to Katharine and her entire team on this visionary approach to transit, and for taking proactive steps that will improve your operations, the health of those who call our community home, and our county itself.”

PRT said it won’t begin to increase its replacement of diesel buses with zero-emission buses until 2025 and will over-purchase zero-emission buses after 2032.

It said it expects to spend an estimated $1 billion over the next 20 years during the transition.

“We recognize our responsibility to move as quickly as possible to replace our fleet with zero-emissions vehicles to improve the health, safety, and welfare of the communities we serve,” said PRT CEO Katharine Kelleman. “This investment in our system touches upon so many of the values that will propel our region toward a more equitable and sustainable future.”

PRT put its first two battery-electric buses in service in 2020 and followed up with six battery-electric buses in 2021. According to a release, the board recently approved funding for another 15 battery-electric buses that are planned to operate on the future DowntownUptown-Oakland Bus Rapid Transit.

Electric buses cost about 60% more than their diesel counterparts, with the average cost of a 40-foot electric bus being approximately $950,000, according to a release from PRT. Federal funding is expected to be used to make up the difference in cost of the vehicles, employee training and charging infrastructure.

PRT said the transition will improve the region’s overall air quality.

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