Vineyard Transportation Authority (VTA) turned a page Wednesday with the delivery of five electric buses from Build Your Dreams of Lancaster, Calif. The VTA will take delivery of one more bus in July or August, to field a new fleet of two 30-foot and four 35-foot buses, VTA deputy administrator Lauren Thomas told The Times. Thomas said the 35-footers cost about $729,000 each, and the 30-footers are $529,418 each. A comparative diesel bus would cost between $400,000 and $450,000, she said. VTA diesel buses eat about $50,000 worth of fuel per year, she said.
The VTA received a grant to help fund the buses.
The new electric buses will cost about $5,000 to $10,000 in electricity to operate, Thomas said, and that does not take into account their lower maintenance needs. “We should just be greasing them and doing basic maintenance,” Liam O’Callahan, a VTA mechanic, said.
Thomas said she expects the buses to be running in a week to 10 days, once drivers have been properly trained on them. Routes 10 and 11, which serve Tisbury and Edgartown, will be among the first routes the buses serve, she said.
The new buses have pushed the VTA across a license-plate threshold, Thomas noted. “We’ve never been in the three digits before,” she said. The new plates will be 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, and 103.
While the VTA has the plates in hand, Thomas said the Registry, which is right next door to them at the Airport Business Park, can’t complete the registrations. “It’s some sort of programming glitch, evidently,” she said.
Their IT department is “actively working on correcting it,” she said, and hopes the problem will be fixed soon.