Buses coming in and out of the MTA’s Grand Avenue Bus Depot in Maspeth, Queens, isn’t the only action going on there.

Contractors are working on the infrastructure to support 17 overhead pantograph chargers, which are used to charge electric buses.  

What You Need To Know

  • The MTA and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) are teaming up on a city bus electrification project

  • The first phase of the project includes building more than 60 overhead and cabled dispensers for New York City Transit across five locations to prepare for the arrival of 60 new electric buses

  • The MTA has a goal of transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040

  • The agency currently has 15 electric buses in operation, with 60 arriving in 2024. Most of the fleet still runs on diesel or diesel-electric hybrids

“When the bus rolls up underneath the pantograph, there’s some wireless communication between the bus and the charger, the bus identifies itself, requests a certain amount of power, the arm comes down, engages with the top of the bus, and the power will begin to flow from the charger to the bus,” said Matt Carroll, senior project engineer for the New York Power Authority, which is overseeing design and managing construction of the project.

It’s part of a $54 million project that will bring more than 60 chargers — 53 of them overhead, 13 cabled — to five locations across the city to accommodate 60 new electric buses expected to arrive early next year.

Currently, the MTA runs about 15 electric buses in the city. The majority of its 5,800 buses still run on diesel or hybrid electric and diesel. Carroll says this phase of the project is only the beginning.

“NYPA and MTA currently have a phase two and three project currently in design and development now, for infrastructure for 475 electric buses that will be coming on line in 2025 and 2026,” Carroll said.

It’s another step towards a goal of a 100% zero-emission bus fleet by 2040, part of the state’s efforts to address climate change.

“It’s a step in the right direction for greenhouse gas reductions and better air quality, less diesel emissions, less pollutants, quieter streets,” Carroll said.

He said the project that ultimately when all electric buses and chargers are operational, will be the largest electric bus charging project in the nation.