NJ Transit advances zero emissions bus conversion at Maplewood garage

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — On March 14, the NJ Transit board of directors took another step in the transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet with the awarding of a contract to design the infrastructure required for a limited deployment of battery electric buses at Hilton Garage in Maplewood and conduct a survey of current conditions at all 16 NJ Transit bus garages statewide. This survey will help identify the required infrastructure upgrades needed at each garage in later stages of the zero-emissions transition.

“The electrification of NJ Transit’s bus fleet is a critical part of our state’s Energy Master Plan,” Gov. Phil Murphy said March 14. “Battling climate change requires bold and innovative steps. With today’s contract award, our state is closer to ensuring that one of the largest bus fleets of any transportation agency is made of 100-percent zero-emissions vehicles.”

“Creating a green, eco-friendly transportation infrastructure is one of NJ Transit’s strategic goals and a critical element to ensure the success of Gov. Murphy’s Energy Master Plan,” N.J. Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit board Chairperson Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “The modernization of the Hilton Garage in Maplewood is an important step in the course of transitioning to zero-emission vehicles.”

“NJ Transit’s transformational bus garage modernization program will include the necessary renovation and construction at our existing bus garages to accommodate a zero-emissions bus fleet, similar to the work we’ve done at our Newton Avenue Bus Garage in Camden,” NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett said. “This initial phase of the bus garage modernization program represents a significant leap forward in meeting our commitment to transition to a 100-percent zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040, aligned with Gov. Murphy’s Energy Master Plan.”

The contract with AECOM of Piscataway calls for the conceptual, preliminary and final engineering services, and construction assistance services for early construction work required at Hilton Garage to prepare the facility for a limited deployment of battery electric buses. The contract also provides for a systemwide bus garage survey to document existing conditions. The contract is for $4,330,348.50, plus 5 percent for contingencies, subject to the availability of funds.

Modern, state-of-the-art infrastructure is needed to support a zero-emissions bus fleet and ensure a smooth transition. Garage modernization is a prerequisite for operation of a zero-emissions bus fleet. Later stages of the program will include design work for five selected garages for full-scale modernization to accommodate zero-emissions buses followed by design work at the remaining 11 garages.

Transitioning to a zero-emission fleet will require a major transformation of infrastructure, routes and operations. The bus garage modernization project will involve the extensive upgrading of existing garage facilities and infrastructure, including power utilities, to ensure they can accommodate a zero-emissions fleet.

Some of the possible improvements at the garages include expanding the footprint of the

facilities, roof strengthening for solar systems and power equipment, upgrading the power supply, and installing new technologies, including bus-charging equipment.

In October 2021, NJ Transit’s board approved the purchase of eight battery electric buses, which will be a part of a limited deployment in the Camden region based out of the Newton Avenue bus garage.

On Jan. 17, 2020, Murphy signed S2252/A4819, which established requirements for NJ Transit to move toward zero-emissions bus purchases by 2032. Specifically, all NJ Transit bus purchases made on or after December 2024 must include at least 10 percent zero-emissions buses, escalating to 50 percent by December 2026 and 100 percent by December 2032.