GRT unveils first electric bus

Posted on Tuesday January 30, 2024

The first of Grand River Transit’s electric buses will begin service next month as part of its zero-emission bus pilot project. Ten more electric buses are expected to arrive this year.

This initiative is part of the Region of Waterloo’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. In 2020, the Region of Waterloo discontinued the purchase of diesel-only buses, switching to hybrid and electric options.

As part of the pilot project, GRT will be collecting information about how the battery-operated buses handle different routes and driving conditions, as well as getting feedback from customers about their experiences on board. The information will be used as part of GRT’s business plan, which will provide a roadmap for service improvements and expansion over the next five years.

The buses have been purchased from Nova Bus and will be housed and charged at the Northfield Drive Maintenance Facility in Waterloo, which opened in September 2022. Six chargers have been installed and buses can be fully charged in about four hours.

As more electric buses hit the road, there will be opportunities for the community to see them up close and learn more about the pilot project.

The buses, and associated electric chargers located at the Northfield garage, were funded by the Government of Canada’s ($6,048,400) Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), as well as the Government of Ontario ($5,039,829), and the Region of Waterloo ($4,032,771), totaling $15.1 million.


“These first electric buses in operation in the Region of Waterloo marks the start of a cleaner, more prosperous future for residents. Fulfilling our commitments to the environment while creating good jobs and building affordable, resilient and sustainable communities is imperative. Our government will continue to work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities to support and build green and accessible public transit options.”

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo, on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“Today, the Region of Waterloo moves towards a cleaner, more sustainable phase of public transportation. The 11 electric buses servicing Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo will help to support affordable and reliable transit options. Our government is fully committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and we will continue to take strong action in the fight against climate change.” 

Bryan May, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business and to the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and Member of Parliament for Cambridge 

“A prosperous and connected Region of Waterloo needs safe, reliable and sustainable public transit options. The electric bus unveiled today is a great step towards a cleaner and quieter future for residents and the Region eventually converting its entire bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles.”

Valerie Bradford, Member of Parliament for Kitchener South–Hespeler

“Decarbonization is one of the greatest challenges our society faces. Part of transitioning to a sustainable, clean and prosperous future is investing in the technology and infrastructure that will reduce carbon emissions. The electric bus unveiled today demonstrates how the federal government is working with partners to achieve its emissions goals and vision for green, connected and flourishing communities across the Waterloo Region and the country.”

Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Conestoga

“The launch of Waterloo’s electric buses marks a significant milestone in our government’s mission to be a global leader in the electric vehicle revolution. As we deliver on our plan to build more affordable and convenient transit options, we will continue to invest in clean-energy opportunities that are good for people, good for jobs, and good for the environment. The future is electric and Ontario is leading the charge.”

Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation

“This is an exciting step forward in our plans to transition to a more resilient, low-carbon community. As we move toward our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the region by 80 per cent by 2050, Grand River Transit plays a crucial role. This bus is a symbol of our commitment to the environment and sustainable transportation.”

Karen Redman, Regional Chair of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo