County Executive Pat Ryan Announces UCAT Has Put its First Three Electric Buses on the Road

County Executive Ryan announces that UCAT will have 9 more electric buses in the coming years

The Ulster County Executive and Ulster County Legislature are making major progress towards the County’s aggressive Green Fleet goal of 20% green by 2025

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced today that Ulster County Area Transit (UCAT) has put its first three electric buses on the road. The buses will run on 100% renewable electricity and reduce transit-related greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 10% (112 metric tons of CO2e per year). County Executive Ryan and the Ulster County Legislature are making major progress towards the County’s aggressive Green Fleet policy goal of 20% green by 2025: the addition of these three electric buses brings the number of green vehicles in Ulster County’s fleet to approximately 9%. As UCAT buses near the end of their useful life, they will be replaced, and nine more buses are scheduled to be replaced with electric buses in the coming years. 

“Putting electric buses on the road is an essential part of implementing our Green New Deal in Ulster County,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Not only are we the first county in the nation to develop our own localized Green New Deal plan, but we are also taking aggressive action to implement our plan and protect our environment. Here in Ulster County, we are showing that bold climate action is not only the morally right thing to do, but that it will also position our community as an economic leader in New York State and across the nation.”

“As Chair of the County Legislature and co-sponsor of Ulster County’s Green Fleet Policy, I have long been an advocate of Ulster County’s transition to clean energy,” Ulster County Chairwoman Tracey Bartels said. “Making progress on the County’s Green Fleet goal of 20% by 2025 will enable Ulster County to build economic opportunities and health for future generations while building upon our reputation of environmental leadership.”

The buses were purchased by UCAT, which has been approved for almost $1 million in funding from the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYTVIP). New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) administers the NYTVIP in partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The $58.3 million NYTVIP program makes it easier for municipal fleets to adopt clean vehicle technologies while removing the oldest, dirtiest diesel engines from New York roads. It is funded by $48.3 million from the state’s federal allocation from the Volkswagen settlement, and approximately $10 million in federal funds allocated to the New York State Department of Transportation.

“NYSERDA commends Ulster County’s leadership and commitment demonstrated by the addition of not one, not two, but three electric buses with a plan for adding more to their fleet in the years ahead,” Doreen M. Harris President and CEO of NYSERDA said. “We are proud to support their efforts to implement clean transportation which will make a big difference to the community with reduced pollution and emissions and an eco-friendly, accessible, and comfortable ride for passengers.”

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) provided the charging infrastructure and coordinated with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for the use of Volkswagen settlement funding. Additionally, the UCAT depot was equipped with wiring upgrades to allow for expanded charging in the future and the development of renewable energy technologies.

“The New York Power Authority is proud to have played a leading role in helping Ulster County achieve this milestone,” NYPA interim CEO and President Justin E. Driscoll said.  “Replacing aging diesel buses with new electric models will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lead to a cleaner and more efficient public transportation system. Ulster County’s continued commitment to a sustainable future shows how one region can help make a difference in New York State achieving its clean energy goals.”

In September 2020, County Executive Ryan and then Senator Jen Metzger announced that Ulster County was receiving $100,000 from a State and Municipal Facilities Capital (SAM) program grant, which funded a 30kw solar array that was installed on the roof of the UCAT transit facility to power the facility and charging infrastructure for electric buses.

The electric buses now on the roads of Ulster County are wrapped with the message, “Electric is Our Future.” UCAT bus rides range from free for children, SUNY Ulster students and veterans, to $2 for outside Ulster County adults. Schedules can be found online at http://ucat.ulstercountyny.gov/routes/

Photo: Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (at podium) unveils UCAT’s new electric buses with (from left to right) Ulster County Legislature Chairwoman Tracey Bartels, Fabio Mantovani, NYPA’s VP of e-Mobility, David Sandbank, NYSERDA’s Vice President of Distributed Energy Resources, and community partners of J&J Sass Electric.