RIPTA, Federal, State, and Local Officials Celebrate Completion of the Northeast Region’s First Electric Bus In-Line Charging Station

In-Line Charging Station Will Power State’s First Fully Electric Bus Fleet

Providence, Rhode Island - Members of the State’s Congressional delegation, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), municipal leaders, Rhode Island Energy and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) gathered today to celebrate the completion of construction on Rhode Island’s first electric bus in-line charging station.

This cutting-edge charging station, located along the R-Line – RIPTA’s most frequently-used route connecting Providence, Cranston and Pawtucket – can charge up to four electric buses simultaneously while they are in service. The charging station, the first of its kind in the Northeast region, also features driver restrooms and various site enhancements, including an on-site snow-melt system. It is located on the Providence/Cranston city line at the southern terminus of the R-Line.

 

The charging station will power RIPTA’s first electric fleet – fourteen (14) New Flyer Xcelsior XE40 battery electric buses, all of which will exclusively serve the R-Line. Electrifying this route will lower emissions on a key corridor, where many low-income and diverse communities have been affected by air pollution and experience high asthma rates. The bright green buses, equipped with an energy storage system totaling 320 kWh, mark RIPTA’s commitment to cleaner and more sustainable public transportation. The full electric fleet will be deployed this month, making public transportation in Rhode Island even greener.

 

RIPTA interim Chief Executive Officer Christopher Durand highlighted the station's importance in advancing the state's commitment to cleaner air quality and zero-emission, sustainable energy. He emphasized that projects like this contribute to Rhode Island's leadership in the green economy and improve access to public transportation for residents who rely on RIPTA’s services.

“At RIPTA, we are proud to lead by example when it comes to battling climate change. The completion of the electric bus in-line charging station marks a significant achievement for RIPTA and Rhode Island,” said Christopher Durand, RIPTA interim Chief Executive Officer. “This innovative facility, located along our most frequently-used route, represents our commitment to cleaner, sustainable transportation. The introduction of our first fully electric fleet will not only reduce emissions but also enhance the quality of air and life in the communities we serve."

 

The $7.6 million design-build project was led by BOND Civil & Utility Construction, Inc. of Medford, Massachusetts. BOND’s experience in delivering critical infrastructure, including electric bus charging stations, was instrumental to the project’s success. The company worked closely with Rhode Island Energy to ensure that electrical power and a high-pressure gas line was available for this project. BOND also worked closely with GM2 and Fuss & O’Neill during the design phase of the project. 

 

This project was recognized as an engineering achievement by the ACEC-RI Engineering Excellence Awards program, which honors engineering projects that demonstrate a higher degree of merit and ingenuity. The GM2 Associates and Bond Civil-Utility Design Build team was awarded the 2024 1st Place Gold Anchor Award for the design and construction of the charging station.

 

The project was funded by Volkswagen Settlement Funds and the Federal Transit Administration Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“To take part in another energy diversification project in Rhode Island is an honor,” said Kane Cuddy, President of BOND Civil & Utility. “Working with RIPTA and Rhode Island Energy to empower one of the region’s first fully-electric bus fleets is a major milestone not just for BOND, but for our public transportation infrastructure as a whole. We look forward to collaborating on upcoming prospects in the Ocean State to continue building networks of the future.”

 

About RIPTA’s Zero Emissions Fleet Transition

In May 2018, the State of Rhode Island announced that approximately $14.4 million of the state’s Volkswagen settlement funds would be used to take important steps toward improving air quality in Rhode Island – including the acquisition of electric buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. In 2019, RIPTA launched a pilot program with three leased all-electric buses. This pilot provided RIPTA with an opportunity to learn about the new technology, train staff, and test the performance of the electric buses on a variety of RIPTA routes.

 

After considerable analysis of vehicle performance, range, and energy consumption data collected in the initial demonstration buses, RIPTA made the first major step toward transitioning away from diesel-based propulsion and toward a greener, more sustainable bus fleet with the purchase of fourteen (14) New Flyer Xcelsior XE40 battery-electric buses, all of which will be exclusively assigned to run on the R-Line.

 

The Electric Bus In-Line Charging Station project is part of Rhode Island's Zero Emissions Fleet Transition, utilizing Volkswagen settlement funds to improve air quality and introduce electric buses to RIPTA's fleet. For more information about the Zero Emissions Fleet Transition, visit https://www.ripta.com/zev .

 

QUOTES

"Rhode Island is leading the charge on clean, renewable energy projects, and this new charging station is another example of how we're all in on creating a sustainable future," said Governor Dan McKee. "Building up our green economy is critical. This charging dock can reduce emissions, promote cleaner air, and make public transportation easier for the tens of thousands of riders who rely on it."

 

“RIPTA is charging ahead to a clean energy future. Shoring up RIPTA’s fleet of electric buses on the R-Line with reliable charging infrastructure is critical to getting more green buses on the road and will help our state save money, reduce pollution, and improve air quality, all while giving Rhode Islanders an affordable and healthier way of getting where they need to go,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for transportation funding. “I was proud to help deliver over $2 million in federal funds from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to advance this new charging station and build upon more than $35 million in federal funds that Rhode Island has received over the last 5 years to build up and strengthen its electric bus fleet.”

 

“Electric buses help keep our communities healthy and are a win for the environment,” said Senator Whitehouse, senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  “This new charging station will help power RIPTA’s first electric bus fleet and move Rhode Island toward a clean energy future.  This first charging station will serve as a model, with much more investment on the way from our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

 

“Rhode Islanders deserve healthy, livable neighborhoods,” said Congressman Seth Magaziner. “This new charging station will power a fleet of electric buses that will improve air quality and transportation options for communities across our state.”

 

“Thanks to the leadership of Democrats in Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration, the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping communities like ours meaningfully fight the climate crisis while simultaneously better connecting our communities and improving public transit,” said Congressman Gabe Amo. “The electric bus charging station along the R-Line is made possible because of the massive federal funding made available by the new law. In Congress, I am laser-focused on securing Rhode Island’s fair share of federal funding to make investments in our infrastructure.”

 

"I could not be more excited to see the first in-line charging station up and running in our great city,” Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins said. “This station’s opening marks a significant milestone in the effort to mitigate emissions along a crucial transportation route in the state. By establishing a connection between Cranston and our neighboring cities, this initiative can contribute to both environmental and economic advantages for all involved.”

 

“I am thrilled to join our federal, state and local partners to celebrate the arrival of the state’s first fully electric bus fleet that will provide sustainable, emissions-free transportation between our three cities,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “When we collaborate to invest in electric bus infrastructure, we are building a more resilient community, reducing pollution and improving the air quality for our communities.”

 

“We applaud RIPTA’s efforts to advance its electric bus program with this innovative charging station, which smooths the way for efficient fueling and maintenance and has the added value of providing amenities for bus drivers,” said Peter Butler, regional administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, which recently provided $5 million to RIPTA to buy hybrid electric buses. “We’re proud to provide federal support to help RIPTA deliver a cleaner and more modern mode of transportation designed to reach everyone throughout Rhode Island.”

 

“Decarbonizing the transportation sector is one of the most important paths to helping Rhode Island meet its clean energy goals, and leveraging the promise of electric vehicles is a key ingredient,” said Greg Cornett, president at Rhode Island Energy. “We’re proud to partner with RIPTA on this important initiative and show how together we can help the state and large entities prepare their own infrastructure alongside our network, as well as meet the growing needs of their new electric fleet.”

 

For more information on RIPTA services, passengers can call 401-781-9400 or visit RIPTA.com.

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