Feds kick in another $76 million for 180 York Region Transit electric buses
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Electric Buses
Jul 10, 2024
Mehanaz Yakub

The new funding is part of a $389-million investment York Region is using to buy zero-emission buses and install depot and on-route charging infrastructure

York Region Transit currently has a total of 14 battery electric buses. Funding from the federal government will help support the purchase of 180 more electric buses. Photo: York Region Transit

The new funding is part of a $389-million investment York Region is using to buy zero-emission buses and install depot and on-route charging infrastructure

The federal government is investing $76 million into a York Region Transit plan to electrify its bus fleet, bringing the total project budget to $389 million.

York Region Transit will purchase 180 zero-emission transit buses, charging infrastructure and updating its facilities through combined financial support from the federal government, Canada Infrastructure Bank and the region.

Once in service, the 180 buses will reduce emissions by about 15,982 tonnes per year. This is equivalent to taking 4,000 vehicles off the roads.

“These electric buses will be an innovative, zero-emission transit option that will help people get to work, reduce traffic congestion, and require less maintenance than traditional diesel buses,” reads the press release on the announcement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal investment in York Region earlier this month. The funds will also help finance the installation of 91 battery electric chargers and 14 on-route chargers for York Region Transit.

York Region, located directly north of Toronto, is home to 125 million people and has over 500 vehicles in its transit fleet.

It also plans to upgrade three existing transit facilities that will house the zero-emission buses with solar power and battery energy storage systems.

CIB and municipal funding

The Canadian government funding is coming from the Zero Emission Transit Fund (ZETF).

The ZETF also closely coordinates with the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s Zero-Emission Buses Initiative. The CIB already announced last year that it would back the York Region project with a $136-million loan.

“York Region’s transition to electric buses is a critical step toward reducing emissions for decades to come,” says Ehren Cory, chief executive officer of the CIB. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank’s loan, combined with the Zero Emission Transit Fund grant, supports much cleaner and quieter public transportation for residents.”

The Regional Municipality of York will also invest $177 million of its own funds into the electric bus fleet project.

York Region transit electrification plan

York Region Transit has been working towards electrifying its bus fleet for several years. It aims to purchase only electric buses by 2030.

In 2020, the transit authority received its first six electric buses. This was part of a pilot program to test electric transit. Of these, four were from New Flyer and two from Nova Bus.

In June 2020, the municipal council authorized the purchase of six more electric buses from New Flyer. The buses went into service in fall of 2021.

Two more electric buses were added to the municipal fleet in 2022.

York Region says it plans to continue purchasing and deploying electric buses each year until 2029 to further develop the electric bus program and support the region’s goals to reach net zero by 2051.

“Access to safe and efficient transportation options continues to be a top priority for York Regional Council,” says Wayne Emmerson, chairman and CEO of the Regional Municipality of York.

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