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First electric buses to roll out this spring

Oakville News. KA.
Oakville News. KA.

The future of Oakville Transit was on display last week as Oakville politicians and transit staff gathered to celebrate the launch of the electric era.

The town has received its first 15 battery-electric mini-buses and will roll them out this spring for use in care-A-van, Home to Hub and Ride On-Demand services.

Small, agile and built with a low floor for easy accessibility, the 20-foot e-Jest model buses are well suited for specialty service, said Oakville transit director Adrian Kawun.

The arrival of the buses marks the first step in a plan that will see the town convert about half of its transit fleet from diesel to electric over the next five years.

During a press conference at the town’s Wyecroft Road transit facility, Mayor Rob Burton thanked Oakville’s federal, provincial and municipal politicians – who he described as “Team Oakville” – for pulling together the $66 million in funding to launch the electrification initiative.

“Today’s unveiling of Oakville Transit’s first-ever electric buses is an important milestone in advancing council’s efforts to create a thriving and livable Oakville for today and future generations,” said Burton.

“Reducing the town’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental footprint while modernizing and expanding our transit services is critical to the health and well-being of our community.”

Battery charging stations for the mini-buses have been installed at the transit facility, with plans to add additional chargers at the Uptown Core terminal.

Oakville News, KA
Oakville News, KA

The zero-emission vehicles can travel about 200 kilometres on a full charge, with most routes requiring about 120 kilometres of travel in a day.

Oakville Transit is expected to get its first 15 full-size electric buses early in 2024.

Before they arrive, the town will require specialized charging infrastructure and expansion of the transit facility.

It is signing contracts worth more than $100 million to complete that work and arrange for ongoing electrical servicing.

Read more: Electric buses cost Oakville more than $100 million 

With Oakville Transit buses travelling more than six million kilometres annually, diesel fuel is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from town operations.

Transit electrification aims to help the town reach its corporate goal of reducing emissions by 80 per cent from 2014 levels by 2050.

"Our government is committed to supporting municipal transit in Oakville and in communities across Ontario,” said Stephen Crawford, Conservative MPP for Oakville.

“Oakville Transit's new, electric buses will provide safe and reliable options for commuters while reducing local air and noise pollution.”

Provincial politicians Crawford and Effie Triantafilopoulos, as well as Oakville MPPs Anita Anand and Pam Damoff, joined Burton and several town councillors at the launch.

“We are committed to taking action on climate change to cut pollution and grow our economy, and this project is a demonstration of our commitment,” said Anand. “We will continue to work with partners to make Oakville one of the greenest and greatest places to live in Canada.”