New Bedford, Massachusetts – The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) has received a federal award of more than $12.2 million to buy 18 hybrid buses over a period extending through Fiscal Year 2026.
SRTA applied through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for grant awards funded by the recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes more than $1.6 billion in FTA funding for projects around the country. SRTA received federal support in the process from U.S. Representatives Bill Keating and Jake Auchincloss, and local support from New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell – chairman of the SRTA Advisory Board – and Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan, the board’s vice-chair.
“This award will start SRTA on the path to a clean energy bus fleet,” Mayor Mitchell said. “Modernizing the fleet with hybrid electric buses will enable SRTA to continue providing optimal service, while delivering environmental benefits for the region and beyond.”
The new hybrid buses will improve fuel economy and local air quality, and help ensure continued reliable service for transit passengers. Additionally, the award not only will help SRTA meet its annual bus replacement schedule, but also do so with hybrid electric vehicles, which were cost-prohibitive before the award.
“SRTA is focused on transitioning to an environmentally friendly future, and this is a significant step in that direction,” SRTA Administrator Erik Rousseau said. “By the time all the buses from this award are in service, one third of our fleet will be hybrid, and we will be well on our way to executing our transition plan for the years to come.”
The new hybrid buses also will have double doors, enabling expedited boarding and alighting through the rear door along with better regulation of social distancing.
The proposed 35-foot hybrid, fixed-route buses will serve as replacements for 30-foot, conventional diesel fixed-route buses, which have met or exceeded their useful life and are subject to rising energy consumption and maintenance costs.
The award is very timely. Forty of SRTA’s fixed-route buses will meet or exceed their useful life benchmark this year, and eight more will do so by the end of 2026.
SRTA’s present fixed-route fleet totals 74 transit buses, including 31 buses of 30 feet in length, 37 buses of 35 feet in length, four buses of 40 feet in length, and two 35-foot hybrid buses. A total of 64 of those buses are in active service.