Steamship Authority celebrates electric bus

General Manager Robert B. Davis, at left, and BYD USA Regional Sales Manager Randy Premo hold a ceremonial green ribbon for Steamship Authority Port Council Member Robert S.C. Munier of Falmouth to cut in front of one of the Steamship Authority’s new electric buses. —Courtesy the Steamship Authority

The Steamship Authority celebrated the a new line of electric buses with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at its Administrative Offices in Falmouth. 

The first three buses will be used to transport customers from the Authority’s offsite parking lots to its mainland ferry terminals in Hyannis and Woods Hole.

General manager Bob Davis was joined by Port Council Falmouth representative Robert Munier at the brief ceremony, which was followed by a ceremonial “first ride” to the Woods Hole Terminal and back.

“Welcoming these buses into service is an important first step of our region’s journey into the transition to cleaner transportation options,” Davis was quoted in a press release from the Steamship. “We are excited to be the first of what will be many agencies and municipalities making these investments in the coming years.”

The three 40-foot long, low-floor electric buses, along with the necessary charging infrastructure, were purchased from BYD North America following approval by the Authority board in January 2021. The buses were delivered to the Authority in June 2023, and its bus drivers have spent the summer getting familiar with the vehicles. 

The Authority has also been in the process of completing installation and activation of the necessary charging infrastructure at its Falmouth bus maintenance facility, its Palmer Avenue parking lot in Falmouth, and its Yarmouth Road parking lot in Hyannis. 

The approximately $3 million purchase price was offset by two grants the Authority received in 2019 totaling $875,000. One was from the Volkswagen Settlement Grant Program, administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the other was awarded under the Federal Transit Administration’s Low- or No-Emission Program.

The Authority is in the process of accepting delivery of an additional four 40-foot electric buses, along with the necessary charging infrastructure, from Gillig LLC of Livermore, Calif. 

The Authority board authorized the purchase of the buses at its February 2022 meeting, for a total price not to exceed $4 million.