The first electric bus in all of B.C. will be put into regular service on the streets of Victoria starting July 23.
The 100-per-cent electric, zero emissions bus may already be familiar to some riders, having been on the city’s streets for a six-month trial that launched in April.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena called it an “exciting moment,” before boarding the bus with officials from BC Transit and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, for a ride around the legislature.
“BC Transit is fundamental to transportation in this province, in communities across the province and we want to make sure that it is playing its part in ensuring greenhouse gases are cut,” she said. “It’s going to be good to see it around the streets of Victoria.”
The minister said she hopes this is just the start of seeing many more electric buses on the streets of B.C.
A 324 kilowatt-hour battery enables the bus to travel up to 250 kilometres on a single charge and requires approximately four hours to recharge overnight.
The goal is to create a zero emissions fleet, said Erinn Pinkerton, interim president and CEO of BC Transit.
The company will work with the manufacturer to look at refining the technology as needed, once in service. “A new technology always requires us to look at new ways of operating,” she added.
The new bus will go into service on routes 2, 4, 11 and 27 and features air conditioning, as well as space for bikes, strollers and mobility devices.
“We want to … pack that bus full of people, use the air conditioning and then really test the performance of how it’s doing,” Pinkerton said.
On the ride around the legislature block, Transit Commission chair Susan Brice noted it was a smooth ride that left drivers following the bus without the diesel smell that can sometimes emit from public transit.
Currently, BC Transit operates 1,000 buses in its fleet, each with a life cycle of a decade; 120 of those currently operate on compressed natural gas.
“Our hope is that this area could move to a full electric fleet and that’s something we’ll be looking for in the future,” Brice said. “This is the right thing to do, we’re on the right track.”