Northeast transit agencies and 'Snowzilla'


WASHINGTON, D.C. - In addition to the limited service already in place Sunday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority began severely limited aboveground service on Monday following Winter Storm Jonas, the Washington Post reports.

With federal, states and local governments shut down, as well as school systems and universities, authorities urged drivers who had been snowbound since Friday to avoid unnecessary trips so that plows could continue their work.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is offering free transit rides on Monday to accommodate riders faced with reduced service and schedule changes due to road, track and weather conditions. The MTA, which is gradually resuming service, expects to have all services fully operating by Tuesday, Jan. 26, no later than Wednesday, Jan. 27.

“To show our customers we care, the MTA will offer free transit rides tomorrow across each of our modes,” said MTA Administrator/CEO Paul Comfort. “As the Baltimore-Washington region recovers from the largest snowstorm in our area’s history, the MTA is working around the clock to get services back up and running as soon as possible - all while ensuring the safety of our customers and employees. Tomorrow, we’ll resume limited service on most of our transit modes from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Unfortunately, we won’t operate on our normal schedule due to track and road conditions. But, we’ll do what we can to get our customers where they need to go. The men and women of the MTA are working tirelessly to restore normal service as soon as possible.”




  Chicago Transit could add up to 27 more electric buses

From Chicago Sun-Times:

The CTA is primed for a major expansion of its electric bus experiment now that it can use an $8.1 million federal grant to buy as many as 27 zero-emission “green machines,” the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The Chicago Transit Authority was the first major transit agency in the country to use electric buses as part of its regular service when it added two environmentally friendly buses to its fleet in 2014.

The CTA has been cleared to switch an $8.1 million federal grant for 26 hybrid, articulated buses to 27 standard-sized electric buses under a plan approved Jan. 7 by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

The electric-battery-powered buses will be even more environmentally friendly and use three times less fuel than the hybrid diesel-electric ones, CTA officials contended in a proposal seeking to amend their original request for federal funding.

The CTA will use any new electric buses to “further inform in-service tests of the electric bus technology” and to help the agency decide the right mix of buses when it makes its next major procurement, a purchase of more than 1,000 buses in 2020, the CTA wrote in comments to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Those new buses would presumably be used to replace more than half the CTA’s existing fleet of 1,888 buses, offering the agency the chance to convert to a majority-electric fleet if funding allows.

A single standard-sized electric bus costs about $800,000. The federal grant provides $300,000 per bus, which covers the cost difference between an electric bus and a diesel one. The CTA still needs to nail down funding for the additional $500,000 per bus.      READ MORE >


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