Around Virginia, transit agencies navigate the transition to electric buses

A view of the Alexandria Transit Company’s electric buses in Northern Virginia.
A view of the Alexandria Transit Company’s electric buses in Northern Virginia.(Alexandria Transit Company & Virginia Mercury)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 7:57 AM EST
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As more transit agencies in Virginia roll out electric buses to reduce environmental impacts, the need to recharge those buses throughout the day remains a chief concern.

To address that challenge, officials from DASH in Alexandria and Blacksburg Transit, both early adopters of electric buses, said they are experimenting with solutions like overhead chargers and extra facilities.

“Range is now going to be a new factor and a new parameter that will [have] a large influence on how we deploy the fleet,” said Raymond Mui, assistant general manager with Alexandria DASH. “How we manage them and how we transition our fleet — that’s something new that neither DASH or most other transit agencies have had to manage as an operating factor.”

Today, Virginia has 26 battery-electric buses in operation, representing 1% of the statewide transit fleet as of August. Alexandria, with 14, has deployed the most electric buses, ahead of Hampton Roads and Blacksburg. The number of electric buses does not include those owned and operated by schools in a statewide system of 132 school districts.

Many of those were acquired in response to local government directives to move toward zero-emission fleets.

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)