SEPTA recently announced it was awarded approximately $2.5 million, which funds the price differential between the purchase of a standard diesel/electric hybrid bus and an electric bus(approximately $100,000 per bus). This grant allows SEPTA to move forward with a purchase of the 25 electric buses from Proterra, the manufacturer.
The electric buses will be used on Routes 29 and 79 in south Philadelphia. These routes operate on flat terrain and are relatively short, which are factors that should be optimal for electric bus operations. Once in service, SEPTA will evaluate the operations of the electric buses on the 29 and 79 in a manner similar to a pilot program, to determine whether electric bus operations would be beneficial for other bus routes.
SEPTA believes this project will be beneficial both economically and environmentally. Further details on the potential benefits of this program were included in a DVRPC study that is available online here: http://www.dvrpc.org/reports/13028.pdf