A new report calls on the MBTA to update the overhead wires and busses on Watertown’s 71 and 73 routes to InMotion charging as a first step to expanding this technology to other routes.
The report “Bus Electrification Accelerating the Electrification of Bus Service in the Boston Metro Area” MBTAReport_Final2.pdf (sierraclub.org) by the Sierra Club, Transit Matters, and Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) along with 14 partner organizations calls the MBTA’s plans “too little too late.”
The MBTA current plan calls for the continued purchasing of hundreds of polluting diesel hybrid buses while gradually transitioning to overnight charging electric buses over the next two decades with full electrification by 2040.
The report argues that depending solely on overnight charging short changes us and identifies two promising technologies — InMotion charging and EnRoute charging that should be part of the mix and an implementation rollout that would achieve full electrification by 2030, avoid hundreds of interim diesel hybrids, reduce emissions earlier, save money, serve environmental justice communities, and improve public health for all.
It is convenient to use the upcoming Mt. Auburn Street reconstruction to permanently remove the wires, but InMotion charging buses have the capacity to go off line during construction and congestion and extend their routes and would allow electric buses to continue during the reconstruction of Mt. Auburn.
While InMotion charging and its expansion to suitable routes is only one part of the roll out proposed, we in Watertown have a stake in ensuring that the proposed better, faster, more cost effective plan does not get lost in the Mt. Auburn Street reconstruction. We should advocate locally with town officials and representatives to preserve the overhead capacity on the 71 and 73 and send a message to the MBTA at Tell the MBTA Why Transitioning to Zero-emission Electric Buses Is Important to You!
Watertown Faces Climate Change , a working group of Watertown Citizens for Peace Justice and the Environment and a node of 350 Mass.
Helen Soussou and Deborah Peterson
Members Watertown Faces Climate Change