Metro’s next fleet of buses quietly is coming together, in more ways than one.
The first of 20 electric 40-foot buses bought by Metropolitan Transit Authority has arrived in Houston, though it will be some time before it is branded, tested and brought into service.
For now, it is going through the paces at the transit agency’s Kashmere bus depot, and will only go into service once Metro accepts it.
The bus is the first Metro will deploy along Route 28 along Old Spanish Trail and Wayside and Route 402 Bellaire Quickline. The others will follow on those two routes over time, because both operate in the Texas Medical Center where they can charge in a pinch.
The $22 million purchase mostly was covered by a $21.6 million grant Metro won from the Federal Transit Administration. The grant freed Metro to save more of its own money for future bus purchases. Each electric bus costs about $1.1 million, which is more than a diesel bus; the cost is expected to even out over the bus’ lifetime.
Once the buses begin ferrying passengers, riders should hardly notice, except for the lack of engine noise. The buses, built by NOVA, are identical to the buses Metro bought in 2019, with the same seats, handrails and other features.
See here for the last update. The rest of the buses will arrive over the next few months, with some of them still awaiting parts prior to their delivery. I look forward to hearing the next chapter of this story.