Jamaica Bus Depot to be Awarded Construction Contract by End of 2022
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that the Jamaica Bus Depot in Queens will be redeveloped to fully support an all zero-emissions fleet of up to 60 electric buses upon opening in summer 2026. A construction contract for the depot is expected to be appointed by the end of 2022.
The MTA currently operates 15 all-electric buses and plans to purchase another 500 electric buses as part of the MTA 2020-2024 Capital Plan which includes $1.1 billion in funding. That funding will also go towards modifying up to eight bus depots with the required charging infrastructure to accommodate the additional electric buses.
The commencement of this project is a significant step toward fulfilling the MTA’s commitment made in April 2018 of deploying a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040 and an important milestone towards completely modernizing the agency’s bus fleet. The reconstructed bus depot will hold approximately 300 buses, with 60 charging stations supporting 60 electric buses at depot opening.
"This is exactly the kind of investment New York needs to build back better at this critical moment and it solidifies the MTA’s status as the transit agency most dedicated to protecting the environment," said MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. "We are serious about zero-emissions buses and our 2040 goal. We all know buses need to move faster, and we’re working closely with the City to improve service by adding new bus lanes and busways, installing cameras to keep private cars out of these lanes and implementing transit signal priority. Buses are the true engines of equity in this city."
“The MTA is committed to operating an environmentally sustainable bus network that will help protect our city from the harmful effects of fossil fuels while harnessing the latest technologies for cleaner and more energy efficient buses,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “This milestone at the Jamaica Bus Depot is just one small but significant step in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the communities we serve.”
"I commend Janno Lieber for understanding what to do to improve the conditions of the transit system within the MTA,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “We are finally at a stage where we have the MTA ready and willing to make this project happen – not just to reduce emissions but to also have an air conditioned bus depot so that the people working on the buses can have a level of comfort. This is going to be a depot that is not only going to be energy efficient, but also groundbreaking in the way they treat its employees.”
“We know how much of an impact this is,” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “When we talk about climate change or environmental change, we’re talking about our bodies. We’re talking about the impact that this will now have. I am excited that this endeavor is happening. This is a dream deferred that is actually happening – for the community and the environment. I can’t wait to break ground.”
“We knew 20 years ago that this depot was operating at about 80 percent of capacity, and we’ve grown tremendously as a community since then,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “What makes this important is that this depot is going to be much larger, electric, and with much cleaner air. We know what it is to carry a large number of passengers in Southeast Queens, and with the pandemic the issue of safety has only become more prominent. Transportation is the great equalizer.”
In 2019, New York City buses carried more passengers than the next three largest bus systems combined including Los Angeles MTA, Chicago CTA and San Francisco SFMTA. In total, MTA Buses run 5,800 buses on 327 routes, including 73 express routes and 20 Select Bus Service routes — representing the largest municipal fleet in the nation. Additionally, New York State has the lowest per capita energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
To deliver the Jamaica Bus Depot, a few steps must take place before construction can begin including:
• A design-build contract to be awarded in December 2022
• Agreement with New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) on the primary bus depot entrance
• Agreement with the City University of New York (CUNY) over placement of the temporary parking lot at York College
• Additional environmental assessment to address the location of temporary bus parking and the closing off of Tuskegee Airman Way
About the new all-electric buses:
The all-electric buses feature a standardized waterproof battery enclosure mounted on the rooftop of the bus, with a simpler design that facilitates maintenance. A 40 ft New Flyer (NF) Xcelsior Charge has a range of up to 251 miles, and will provide a smoother, quieter ride for MTA bus customers. The electric propulsion technology powered by the battery pack in the electric buses yields a quieter ride and no exhaust emissions. These buses will also feature amenities such as digital information screens to enhance the customer experience.
The MTA removes 17 million metric tons of carbon emissions from the air per year by providing public transit services as an alternative to personal vehicle use. In addition, these bus purchases under the 2020-2024 Capital Plan are projected to yield an annual reduction of over 37,000 tons of carbon emissions.