First fleet of electric buses set to roll in Oakville by end of year


Published September 23, 2022 at 5:24 pm

The electrification of the Oakville Transit fleet will begin with the arrival of 15 electrical buses to be used for care-A-van (specialized) service. TOWN OF OAKVILLE PHOTO

Oakville Transit’s fleet will be receiving an electrical jolt to the tune of 15 buses by the end of this year.

At a Town Council meeting earlier this week, Oakville CEO Jane Clohecy told council the electrification of the Oakville Transit fleet will begin with the arrival of 15 electrical buses to be used for care-A-van (specialized) service.

Council received an update on the Community Energy Strategy (CES) highlighting the progress made on key projects, including the electrification of Oakville Transit, completed in year two of the strategy’s implementation.

“By end of year, we’ll have 15 specialized buses as part of our fleet,” she said in response to a question posed by Oakville Ward 4 Regional and Town Councillor Allan Elgar of when the new electrical buses are coming.

“We right now have 23, so it’s a substantial portion of our specialized buses which will be electrical.”

Clohecy said the transformation of Oakville Transit’s conventional buses to electric will begin next year.

“By the end of 2023 and early part of 2024, there should be another 15 conventional buses that will be in our fleet,” she said. “Again, there’s 106 conventional buses. We do estimate at this point in time of having the entire fleet electrified by 2035.

“However there are some opportunities I no doubt (see) coming up in the future for additional funding, which may enable us to bring that date down around earlier than the 2035.”

Elgar said a lot of residents have seen empty diesel buses around town and are wondering when the electrical buses are set to begin arriving.

“We’re at a time a lot of people are looking at that,” he said.

Over the next five years approximately 50 per cent of Oakville Transit’s fleet are set to be converted from diesel to battery electric power.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton expressed his disappointment over the slow roll out of funding from governments, while other cities were prioritized.

He said a week after the federal and provincial government had announced their funding for electrical buses here in Ontario, “they announced enough funding to convert Brampton’s entire fleet of 300 buses.”

“I invite you to consider that we may perhaps be givers and not takers here in Oakville,” he said. “We’re soldiering ahead anyway.”

In March of 2021, the Canadian federal government pledged $2.75 billion towards updating electrifying public transit across Canada.

In particular, the federal government is supporting the purchases of zero-emission public transit and school buses to help deliver on its commitment to assist in the purchase of 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years.

The funding also comes on top of a previously announced $1.5 billion in funding from the Canada Infrastructure Bank in zero-emission buses.

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