RIPTA launches first in-line electric bus charging station in Northeast

CRANSTON – As the R.I. Public Transit Authority moves to meet its clean energy goals, the statewide transportation agency earlier this month celebrated the opening of the region’s first electric bus charging station.

The in-line charging station, which officially opened on July 2, serves RIPTA’s most popular route, the R-line service. The route connects Providence, Cranston and Pawtucket, and the station can charge up to four buses at a time.

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The $7.6 million facility, which opens as the first of its kind in the Northeast, “represents our commitment to cleaner, sustainable transportation,” said Chris Durand, interim CEO of RIPTA.

“The introduction of our first fully electric fleet will not only reduce emissions but also enhance the quality of air and life in the communities we serve,” he said.

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In addition to charging facilities, the station will feature restrooms for RIPTA drivers and a snow-melt system.

BOND Civil & Utility Construction Inc., based in Medford, Mass., led the facility’s design and build process, with support from GM2 and Fuss & O’Neill. That process earned a 2024 1st Place Gold Anchor Award, as well as an engineering achievement award from the American Council of Engineering Cos. of Rhode Island’s Engineering Excellence Awards program.

Funding from a 2015 Volkswagen settlement and the Federal Transit Administration Bipartisan Infrastructure Law financed the project.

In spring 2018, Rhode Island released a plan to use around $14.4 million from the Volkswagen settlement for air quality improvement measures, including Zero Emissions Fleet Transition electric bus infrastructure.

RIPTA currently operates a fleet of 14 New Flyer Xcelsior XE40 battery electric buses, all of which serve the R-line.

Community, state and federal officials applauded the new facility’s opening in statements and at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Decarbonizing the transportation sector is one of the most important paths to helping Rhode Island meet its clean energy goals, and leveraging the promise of electric vehicles is a key ingredient,” said Greg Cornett, president of Rhode Island Energy. “We’re proud to partner with RIPTA on this important initiative and show how together we can help the state and large entities prepare their own infrastructure alongside our network, as well as meet the growing needs of their new electric fleet.”

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.