Electric Bus Proposal

Reducing air and noise pollution to make streets and communities safer and healthier for everyone. 

An example of an electric bus

An example of an electric bus

The Electric Bus Proposal will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as operating costs for Halifax Transit by converting Halifax Transit buses to a low-carbon or zero-emission fleet.

The goal is to electrify more than 200 buses (over 50 per cent of the fleet of 350 buses) by 2028. In 2019-20, an electric bus could save an estimated $24,000 in annual operating costs per bus when compared to diesel. In 2028-29, the potential reduction in maintenance costs could surpass $6 million annually for 210 battery electric buses.

Investment Amount Timeline
Investment Amount Timeline
Ragged Lake Transit expansion $12M 1-2 Years
54 electric buses + charging stations $64M to $73M 3-4 Years
Burnside Transit Centre replacement $165M 2-7 Years
156 electric buses + charging stations $159M to $210M 5-8 Years
Total $400M to $460M 8 Years

Additional Project Benefits

  • Reduces household transportation costs.
  • Makes transportation more sustainable by helping to reduce vehicle use and decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping to mitigate the climate crisis. 
  • Builds more equitable communities by providing mobility options for those unable to access private vehicles.
  • Enhances the distribution of economic growth by increasing mobility options for all residents. 
  • Helps attract newcomers and businesses to the region.
  • Reduces traffic congestion which contributes to higher economic productivity compared to a future with relatively higher auto use.
  • Reduces municipal servicing costs due to a more compact development pattern.
  • Increases property tax revenue from higher land values around the proposed Bus Rapid Transit lines.

What Happens Next?

On July 15, 2021, the governments of Canada, Nova Scotia and Halifax Regional Municipality announced a combined $112 million investment to expand the Ragged Lake Transit Centre and start the electrification of the Halifax Transit fleet.

The investment will be used to procure 60 new battery-operated electric buses and the associated charging equipment, as well as to expand the Ragged Lake Transit Centre to accommodate the new fleet.

The facility will also undergo a deep energy retrofit, including solar panels, to achieve a net-zero standard.

The Government of Canada is investing $44.8 million through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Program, the Nova Scotia government is investing more than $37 million, and the municipality is contributing $29.8 million.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in 2022 and be complete by 2023. The request for proposals for the electric buses will be issued later this summer. All buses should be delivered by 2024, with the first deliveries in 2023.

FAQ

Q: When do you expect to go electric?

A: With the collaborative government funding announcement on July 15, 2021, Halifax Transit is working towards procuring 60 battery electric buses, associated charging equipment, and the starting the expansion of Ragged Lake Transit Centre within the next three years. The overall goal is a sustainable fuels strategy that is expected to result in the full elimination of diesel-powered buses in the long term. The more immediate goal is to electrify more than 200 buses (over 50 per cent of the fleet of 350 buses) by 2028 through the Electric Bus proposal.

Q: Why can't you make all buses electric now?

A: Purchasing e-buses requires a lead time of up to two years, but more significantly, rebuilding and expanding Halifax Transit garages to support e-bus charging and maintenance (including comprehensive staff training) requires significant investment of time and funding. Halifax Transit is working towards a sustainable fuels strategy that is expected to result in the full elimination of diesel-powered buses in the long term. The more immediate goal is to electrify more than 200 buses (over 50 per cent of the fleet of 350 buses) by 2028 through the Electric Bus proposal.

Q: Why do we still need diesel buses?

A: Halifax Transit aims to electrify more than 200 buses (over 50 per cent of the fleet of 350 buses) by 2028. In the interim, new diesel buses will continue to be required to provide our riders with excellent service, while optimizing the cost to tax payers. The new buses will also allow Halifax Transit to follow Regional Council’s direction to finish implementing the Moving Forward Together Plan (MFTP), our transit network redesign. The implementation of this plan, to date, has resulted in significant ridership increases and we expect the rest of the plan implementation to be equally as successful.  We cannot complete the MFTP without buying additional diesel buses.

It’s important to note, these buses must conform to very stringent emission regulations laid out by government regulators. While they are not zero emission, the tail pipe emissions have been greatly reduced over the years as technology improves.