CBRM studies the cost of switching to electric buses

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The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is considering replacing part of its diesel transit fleet with electric buses, despite concerns about long-term costs, charging stations and maintenance.

Mayor Amanda McDougall said the federal government will end subsidies for diesel transit vehicles soon and the switch to electric buses will be mandatory, as will the passage of new federal wastewater regulations ago. a few years.

“Municipalities may not be able to meet these standards immediately, but you have no choice but to do so,” said McDougall. “The changes must be made.”

During budget discussions last month, council learned that CBRM was embarking on a two-year, $ 900,000 study on the electrification of the transit system.

The municipality’s share is $ 240,000, with the provincial and federal governments taking care of the rest.

“ Very significant ” costs

The study will focus on the cost of building a new maintenance facility and a transit center. It will also look at routes that can easily be converted to electric buses.

The municipality gave no indication of the cost of the conversion.

Public Works Director Wayne MacDonald said the municipality is trying to position itself to make sure the change is doable.

“The costs are very significant,” he said. “The initial plan is that we will spend time evaluating the technologies, evaluating the options for moving forward.”

He said the provincial government was working with CBRM on a pilot project where the municipality would receive electric buses, but that won’t happen until the study is completed. He also said there would likely be government subsidies for the buses.

McDougall says the current study is needed to set costs. (Tom Ayers / CBC)

McDougall said the municipality may turn to other levels of government for financial assistance once the cost of introducing electric buses is known.

“If this is the goal and we know that after 2023 there will be no more funding for diesel buses, we just need to have all of our ducks in a row,” she said.

Halifax Transit indicated earlier this year that it was moving forward with a conversion to electric buses.

Last spring, the HRM board unanimously approved two rapid transit projects, which would include, among other things, the production of electricity for half of the fleet of Halifax Transit. The eight-year plan was estimated at $ 786 million, with the municipality contributing $ 210 million.

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