Columbia’s Electric Bus Fleet
In July 2018, Columbia introduced six new battery-electric transit-style buses into its campus shuttle network. The new buses replaced diesel powered buses and are among the first electric buses to operate in New York City. The vehicles offer both environmental and health benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduced noise pollution and improved air quality.
Columbia’s campus shuttle network operates between campus locations in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Rockland County. The shuttles make over 1,400 rider trips daily and travel nearly 180,000 miles per year. Transitioning to electric buses is expected to reduce University shuttle GHG emissions by over 270 metric tons – a 70 percent reduction from the diesel-powered shuttle buses.
The six Xcelsior forty-foot buses have seating capacity of 40 passengers, a battery capacity of 480 kilowatt hours, and can travel over 200 miles on a single charge. The purchase of the buses, which included three charging stations, was supported by a grant from New York State Electric Vehicle Voucher Incentive Funds, a program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and is a partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Transportation and CALSTART.
In addition to reduced emissions and noise, electric buses offer significant savings in fuel and maintenance costs. The buses are also built for accessibility with improved step height, expanded front door widths, and a flatter entry ramp for passengers with mobility devices. Columbia’s Intercampus Shuttle is free of charge for members of the local community with disabilities, the elderly and their companions, as well as individuals with service animals.