Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Milwaukee County is set to introduce these electric buses in 2022

The Milwaukee County Transit System is moving forward with the county's first battery-electric buses. This morning the system announced it has awarded a contract to the bus manufacturer Nova Bus to build up to 15 all-electric buses for the county, 11 of which will be dedicated to the system's upcoming East-West Rapid Transit line. The buses could arrive by summer 2022.

"Passengers who board these ultra-modern buses will enjoy a quiet ride, comfortable seating, USB charging ports, off-board fare collection, and a bike rack," MCTS wrote in a statement today. "Additionally, the new clean-air vehicles have several features that strengthen accessibility and improve the experience of riders with disabilities."

Photo courtesy Nova Bus

The buses can operate up to 247 miles on a single charge, according to MCTS. Their batteries will be recharged at MCTS's maintenance garages. There is a limit on what those batteries can do, though: Diesel-powered heaters will have to be used during the winter to keep the passenger compartment warm.

The battery electric buses are part of MCTS's plan to create a faster, more efficient service for the East-West Rapid Transit line, a nine-mile route the system says it created to "allow MCTS to better connect major employment, education and recreation destinations through downtown Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee’s Near West Side, Wauwatosa and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center."

In addition to the electric buses, the line will have dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal priority and "state-of-the-art platforms that allow for easy boarding."

Construction on the line begins this spring, with hopes of revenue service beginning in fall 2022, shortly after the electric buses arrive in Milwaukee.