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Green Mountain Transit announces five new electric buses for Chittenden County

A man stands behind a podium with a sign reading "Net Zero Energy." Behind him is a large blue bus.
Burlington Electric Department
Burlington Electric Department General Manager Darren Springer spoke about the new buses at a press conference Tuesday.

For the first time since the pandemic, Green Mountain Transit has added five new electric buses to its fleet, bringing the total number to seven, or 10% of buses in operation.

The buses, which began carrying passengers last month, are based in Burlington but will service Chittenden County. They charge at off-peak times in the city, meaning they’re powered entirely by renewable energy.

“Adding five more electric buses to the GMT fleet marks another significant step in Burlington’s efforts to fight climate change and make progress toward our community’s Net Zero Energy goals,” said Burlington Mayor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak in a press release. “These buses will help us decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, cut carbon emissions, and improve air quality in our city.”

Just over 80% of funding for the buses came from a Low or No Emissions Grant from the Federal Transit Administration, with the remainder coming from BED, GMT, and federal and state transportation funding.

The buses each have 520 kWh of available battery capacity, with an operating range of up to 258 miles on a single charge, though the actual distance they can travel will vary based on factors like topography, passenger loads and weather.

Each bus is expected to reduce diesel use by 5,288 gallons a year, resulting in a reduction of around 59 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per bus per year. But the benefit isn’t just for the climate.

“The first thing I think a lot of people are going to notice is that [the buses] are going to be quieter,” said Darren Springer, general manager of the Burlington Electric Department. “They’re going to significantly reduce air pollution and obviously emissions, but also they’re quieter, they’re smoother-operating, because you don’t have the noise and vibration from a traditional diesel engine.”

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Corey Dockser is Vermont Public’s first data journalist, a role combining programming and journalism to produce stories that would otherwise go unheard. His work ranges from complex interactive visualizations to simple web scraping and data cleaning. Corey graduated from Northeastern University in 2022 with a BS in data science and journalism. He previously worked at The Buffalo News in Buffalo, New York as a Dow Jones News Fund Data Journalism intern, and at The Boston Globe.
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