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Posted on: May 16, 2022

METRO Launches New Battery-Electric Buses

Photo of the ribbon cutting at the Electric Bus event

On Monday, May 16, 2022, Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit (BSOOB Transit) and Greater Portland METRO announced the addition of four battery-electric Proterra ZX5 buses to their fleets. The first electric buses to provide fixed-route public transit in Maine in over twenty years will begin service this week.

Maine Governor Janet Mills and US Senator Angus King took part in the ribbon-cutting event, held at Ocean Gateway Visitor’s Center in Portland.  METRO Board Vice Chair and Westbrook Mayor Mike Foley and Portland Mayor Kate Snyder also provided remarks, and Sarah Lawrence provided remarks on behalf of US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. 

The bus launch event was hosted by Chad Heid, Executive Director of Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit, and Greg Jordan, Executive Director of Greater Portland METRO.


“These buses aren’t just cutting emissions. They’re also cutting costs. These battery electric vehicles will cost us 60 to 80 percent less to power than diesel fuel buses, reducing our reliance on expensive fossil fuels. They will also improve the quality of public transportation for customers seeker a quieter ride,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Today is just the start of our transition to a cleaner transportation system in Maine. Together I am confident that we can achieve our goal of carbon neutrality and combat the effects of climate change to preserve this precious state we all call home.”


Advances in electric bus technology and a rapid decline in battery costs over recent years have made electric buses an increasingly viable option for many transit agencies. They improve the air quality in our communities by eliminating diesel exhaust emissions, particulate pollution and pollutants that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone.


“Electrifying transportation provides a key opportunity to confront climate change while giving Maine people more accessible, affordable ways to get around,” said Senator Angus King. “The four new electric buses for these Southern Maine communities are a significant investment in our state’s sustainable future and transportation infrastructure. I was excited to join the launch of these buses today, and look forward to seeing Greater Portland Metro and Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit make more important clean transit investments in the years to come.”


“It’s an exciting day to see these electric buses join the routes of Greater Portland Metro and Biddeford Saco OOB Transit, which are used by hundreds of thousands of Mainers,” said US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “Today we’ve taken an important step toward reaching these transit agencies’ goal of zero emission fleets. It’s the kind of climate change mitigation we need, and I’m grateful to all who worked to get these first electric buses on the ground in Southern Maine. I proudly voted for the new infrastructure law passed by House Democrats and signed by President Biden, which contributed $2 million to this project and so many like it across the nation – it is a much-needed, smart investment in our infrastructure and future.”


“These four electric buses replace four (4) twenty-year-old diesel buses, and will be first set of electric transit buses in Maine since the early 2000s,” said Westbrook Mayor and METRO Board Vice Chair Michael Foley. “For Greater Portland METRO, this marks a first step in fulfilling our agency’s board adopted goal of achieving a zero-emission transit fleet by 2040.”


“Introducing electric buses to our city and region is an important step toward meeting the climate goals of the Portland-South Portland One Climate Future plan,” said Portland Mayor Kate Snyder. “With 54% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation sector, we also need keep developing our cities so that more people can get around by walking, biking and using public transit.”


The 35-foot buses were paid for using federal and state funding and cost approximately $900,000 each. Proterra, the bus manufacturer, estimates the bus has a range of 240 miles on a single charge. BSOOB and METRO have charging stations at their facilities.   The buses operate at up to 25.1 miles per gallon-equivalent (MPGe), about five times more efficient than diesel buses.   The buses were manufactured at Proterra’s facility in Greenville, South Carolina.

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