BSOOB deployed two new electric buses earlier this year – and recently received word from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of funding for two more. Courtesy Photo

BIDDEFORD — Two additional electric buses will be rolling on Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit routes in about a year, made possible with a $2 million federal grant.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, secured the funding for BSOOB to replace two diesel buses that, she said, have reached the end of their useful lives. The grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Low and No Emission Vehicle Grant Program and provided through the bipartisan infrastructure law, which Collins negotiated with nine of her colleagues.

BSOOB Transit Director Chad Heid said the two new electric buses will make four for the agency — two were purchased in 2019, and were partially funded through a federal grant, and with VW settlement funds, state and local contributions. They were deployed earlier this year, arriving later than planned because of supply issues during the pandemic.

“There are zero emissions with electric vehicles,” Heid said, and the purchase will represent a shift from fossil fuel. As well, the electric buses align with regional, national and Maine’s climate action plans. It is expected that the electric buses may cost less to maintain, he said, since there are fewer components, and all four will be exempt from the fluctuations in the cost of diesel fuel.

In addition, earlier this year Collins announced $1.2 million in funding to purchase two on-route chargers.

“As the ranking member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I have strongly advocated for funding to launch BSOOB Transit’s electric bus fleet and install charging infrastructure,” said Collins. “This investment will build on that effort by allowing BSOOB Transit to take two more diesel buses off the road and replace them with battery-powered, carbon-neutral, and 100 sustainable buses.”


“This grant award will propel our agency closer to the state’s emission reduction goals,” said Heid, “We’re very thankful for the advocacy of Senator Collins and our federal delegation to secure this grant award, as well as the funding support from Maine Department of Transportation.

The zero-emission fleet will be operated through the BSOOB Transit service area, which includes Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Scarborough, South Portland, and Portland.

The two new buses will likely arrive in late 2023 or early 2024, Heid said.

BSOOB Transit deploys 13 fixed route buses, three commuter coaches and a fleet of summer trolleys.

Comments are not available on this story.