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Electric shock: Test fleet of battery-powered buses hits Williamsburg

Ready to e-ride: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority deployed 10 new electric buses last week along routes in Williamsburg and the outer boroughs.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’re leading the charge.

Environmentally friendly people movers started rolling through Williamsburg last week as part of a state-led initiative to modernize the city’s bus system. But the tiny test fleet of ten electric buses is not enough to cut down on the dangerous toxins spewed by the vehicles’ gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting counterparts, a local councilman said.

“This is a great first step, but we can aim bigger,” said Councilman Rafael Espinal (D–Bushwick). “Aiming bigger will improve our city’s air quality and drive us toward realizing our carbon-reduction goals.”

Some buses in the new test fleet will silently shuttle straphangers riding the B32, which travels from Williamsburg to Queens, while others will exclusively serve commuters in that borough and on the distant isle of Manhattan.

The gas-free people movers on the B32 line can juice up at an “en-route” charging station installed at the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza transit hub at the Brooklyn foot of the span, or at their main depot in Queens, according to Gov. Cuomo.

The electric buses, which also boast wireless-internet access and USB ports, are part of a three-year pilot program, after which the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority may purchase a full-time fleet of 60 zero-emission vehicles, the governor said.

The state’s Commander in Chief announced the deployment of the new battery-powered people movers on Jan. 8, on the heels of city and state officials’ release of an alternative-transit plan during the impending closure of the L train’s underwater Brooklyn-to-Manhattan tunnel.

That proposal included three new bus routes along Williamsburg streets, but some residents and pols demanded transit leaders first find vehicles that generate less pollution than the recently purchased fleet of diesel-powered people movers set to pack the roads during the 15-month shutdown starting in April 2019.

Environment-loving locals will have a chance to share their concerns at series of upcoming meetings about the looming “L-pocalypse,” where city and state transit honchos will further discuss their plan for straphangers.

The first community meeting is at Progress High School (850 Grand St. between Bushwick Avenue and Waterbury Street) on Jan. 24 at 5 pm. The next is at the Williamsburg Community Center (195 Graham Ave. between Stagg and Scholes streets) on Feb. 8 at 5pm.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:50 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Ralf from Staten Island says:
Was this written by some sort of content mill in Africa? What the hell is a "people mover" and since when is Cuomo "the state's Commander in Chief"?
Jan. 19, 2018, 1:20 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
“Aiming bigger will improve our city’s air quality and drive us toward realizing our carbon-reduction goals.”

I think it's great that they have apparently found a way to manufacture electricity from nothing. Usually we have to burn a lot of fossil fuels to make the electricity that runs EVs.

It's also wonderful to know that the city can meet its carbon reduction goals just by having somebody else emit the CO2 it uses.

This is what I call progress. Sarc off.
Jan. 19, 2018, 5:50 pm
Morris from Mill Basin says:
Ralf from Staten Island, you ignorant pig, just because you're such a moron that you've never heard of a people mover doesn't mean that most people have. I can recall riding the people mover in downtown Miami in the early 1980s. Lots of cities have people have people movers. Why don't you try going on one before you die? Tell me where and when and I'll arrange your painful death (painful for you, a pleasure for me) as soon as possible afterward, you worthless piece of soon-to-be-deceased excrement.
Jan. 19, 2018, 9:19 pm
Guest from NYC says:
Gary. You do realize that gasoline is refined from oil and that takes lots of electricity? It's also better to generate power in power plants than individual cars where many more people are and the ICE engine technology is less efficient. But NYC doesn't have that problem.

Additionally, the vast majority, of electricity that NYC uses is from natural gas, nuclear or renewables. I think coal is 1% and oil is similar.
Jan. 19, 2018, 11:57 pm
Hilda from Park Slope says:
Sorry, but these “buses” just take space away from bicycles and are very dangerous. Let’s please “park” these buses for now.
Jan. 20, 2018, 10:43 pm
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
Dang-azz gas bus is funky Yo !!
Jan. 21, 2018, 8:22 am
It's about time from Brooklyn says:
This is wonderful.

It's only sad that we had to choke on carbons and waste fossil fuel all these years waiting for our government to do it. This technology has been made to be efficient for over a decade.

And now Tesla has brought it to our individual automobiles for us all to start doing our part.

And for the naysayers, energy produced at a power plant is far more efficient than all these road vehicles. Further, power plants disperse the pollution over a greater area rather than creating pockets of carbon on our streets and highways where we live and work.

Say good by to smoke in your face!

Lastly, the more we move towards alternative energy sources, the more EV's will help us end pollution and the use of fossil fuel in its entirety.

They'll also make our streets a much quieter place.
Jan. 22, 2018, 10:40 am
Dandy Yo says:
Climate change is just a distraction from overpopulation. If we halved the number of people... Let's say every other year no births allowed, I bet the ice caps would become sturdy as ever and creatures big and small would have room to frolic.
Jan. 23, 2018, 9:04 pm
Dandy No says:
People are such a-holes, they'd probably just double the output during the on years.
Jan. 23, 2018, 9:44 pm
maureen from cypress hills says:
Dandy...while you'll never get folks to stop reproducing...how about a campaign to urge folks to relocate to the other states in this country. There is life outside of NYC...and our city is hurting from the over population we already have and will get worse with the construction that never ends. Our infrastructure was not meant to handle this...nor our schools etc. Better improved quality of life and less people than everyone cramming into our old brick and mortar trying to pretend things are great. Then
we can discuss electric buses etc. Tourists...ok...permanent residents take it somewhere else!
Feb. 28, 2018, 11:07 am

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