The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has earned the New England Environmental Business Council Award for Climate Change Project of the Year; Metrolinx, the Toronto-area regional transit agency, has installed roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels at four stations, saving almost C$1.8 million in energy costs to date; the CRRC Massachusetts plant recently celebrated the arrival of the first of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LACMTA) new subway cars on order; and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has launched a Transit Ambassador program.
The New England Environmental Business Council recognized MBTA’s efforts to purchase renewable energy and reduce its carbon footprint. The largest single consumer of electricity in Massachusetts, MBTA worked with power supply advisor Energy New England and counsel KP Law to negotiate a three-year renewable purchase from BP Energy Company and Direct Energy LLC in October 2020. MBTA is buying Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for 100% of its electricity load (417,000,000 kWH/year) and 70% of its energy in tailored monthly volumes at a fixed price; it is doing so while reducing costs by more than $3 million annually compared with its prior five-year energy contract, which did not include renewable attributes.
“We are honored to receive the Climate Change Project of the Year Award from the EBC,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said. “With 100% of the T’s electricity load coming from fully renewable energy sources as of Jan. 1, 2021, the MBTA continues to expand the use of renewable energy in our portfolio, and continues our commitment to sustainable transit.”
Installing solar panels at the GO Transit Oakville, Clarkson, Erindale and Ajax stations will provide Metrolinx with an estimated savings of C$7 million to C$8.3 million over the 25- to 30-year lifecycle of the panels. The move has also allowed the agency to eliminate more than 245 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Metrolinx said it expects to install solar panels at other stations in the future, saving as much as 30% of a building’s monthly energy bill.
CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation) contracted with LACMTA in 2016 to build 64 new subway cars with five options to purchase an additional 218. The new cars are expected to start arriving in Los Angeles in 2022 for operation on the Purple Line extension.
As part of the city’s “Open Chicago” initiative, CTA Transit Ambassadors are welcoming back riders. The Ambassadors—CTA employee volunteers—are being deployed to various rail stations across the system this month to greet riders, answer questions and hand out information on the agency’s safety measures. CTA is also lifting all capacity limits on its trains and buses.
The moves are part of agency’s “When You’re Ready, We’re Ready!” campaign, which launched in May. Also part of the campaign is the Refresh & Renew station improvement program.
“[D]eploying friendly, knowledgeable Transit Ambassadors throughout the system is just one of the many ways we are working to help riders feel at home as they resume traveling our buses and trains,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said.