Oakville Transit begins transition to an all-electric bus fleet


Published February 23, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Oakville MP Anita Anand was on hand to celebrate the unveiling of Oakville Transit's first electric buses for specialized services. Replacement and purchase of new electric buses will be completed in phases, with the transition to an all-electric bus fleet beginning in 2023. GOVERNMENT OF CANADA PHOTO

Oakville Transit’s first-ever zero-emission battery-electric buses have begun rolling into town.

The town’s progress towards implementing environmentally friendly and sustainable initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint got a big boost Thursday (Feb. 23) with the first official delivery of the new “innovative” buses.

Mayor Rob Burton along with Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence and Oakville MP, and Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Oakville North–Burlington MP, were on hand with other dignitaries to celebrate the arrival of the electric vehicles that will replace existing diesel-run buses and expands Oakville’s transit fleet.

Oakville Transit’s first batch of zero-emission battery-electric specialized buses arrived in January 2023.

“Today’s unveiling of Oakville Transit’s first-ever electric buses is an important milestone in advancing Council’s efforts to create a thriving and livable Oakville for today and future generations,” said Burton.

“Reducing the town’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental footprint, while modernizing and expanding our transit services, is critical to the health and well-being of our community.

“ Thanks to funding from the town and our federal and provincial partners through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, we’re moving forward to provide innovative and environmentally friendly transit service for Oakville.”

Manufactured by Karsan, the 20-foot e-Jest model buses will be hitting the streets this spring and will be used to deliver transit services such as care-A-van, Home to Hub and Ride On-Demand (in north and southeast Oakville).

To support battery charging for the electric buses, 10 charging stations have also been installed at Oakville Transit’s operations facility.

Anita Anand, Oakville MP and Minister of National Defence, and Pam Damoff, Oakville North–Burlington MO and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, were also on hand for the arrival of new electric buses.

The federal government is investing nearly $5.3 million towards the replacement and purchase of the new buses that will be completed in phases, with the transition to all-electric bus fleet beginning in 2023.

“Upgrading Oakville’s specialized bus fleet with zero-emission, electric vehicles is a big step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Anand. “The Government of Canada’s support for green and sustainable infrastructure is helping to combat climate change and ensure a prosperous future for all Canadians.

“The introduction of the zero-emission battery-electric specialized buses demonstrates Oakville’s commitment to creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly community, which will contribute to meeting our 2050 target of achieving net-zero emissions.”

The town is set to acquire the first 15 zero-emission battery-electric buses to be used for conventional services (larger buses operating for fixed routes) in early 2024.

Over the next five years, it is planned that approximately 50 per cent of Oakville Transit’s fleet will be converted from diesel to electric.

The Ontario government is providing more than $4.4 million to help the Town of Oakville purchase 27 new electric buses.

“Adding electric buses will allow Oakville Transit to provide more service for people living in the Oakville and Halton Region, helping Oakville Transit to electrify their ‘Green Fleet’ is another way our government is supporting municipalities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said  Oakville North-Burlington MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, who on hand for the unveiling with Oakville MPP Stephen Crawford.

“This ensures people and families can rely on public transit to connect them with jobs, housing, and opportunities throughout our region.”

Along with Oakville’s of over $3.5 million, the funding from the two levels of government and town will support the first phase of electrification of approximately 50 per cent of the town’s transit fleet.

Diesel fuel is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Oakville. An electrified public transit service will have a significant positive impact on the town’s corporate goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80 per cent from 2014 levels by 2050.

Electric buses do not produce harmful exhaust emissions or other greenhouse gases, they are more energy-efficient, quieter, provide a smoother experience for passengers, and use fewer parts than standard diesel buses, making them a cost-effective and sustainable choice for public transit systems.

Oakville Town Council unanimously passed a motion declaring a climate emergency in 2019, establishing the importance of accelerating climate change action.

In 2011, the town built a new a new bus garage and service centre, which features a heightened roof and crane necessary for servicing electric buses.

Updates to the facility are planned in 2023 to support transit fleet electrification.

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