Sustainable Westchester’s Electric Public Transit Proposal Selected as Phase One Awardee by New York Clean Transportation

Bee-Line On-Demand, Sustainable Westchester’s innovative proposal for an electric, on-demand public transportation service in Peekskill, NY, was recently selected for a Phase One grant award through the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program “Electric Mobility Challenge”. The program, supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), will fund projects that electrify transportation, reduce air pollution, and enhance clean mobility for disadvantaged communities in New York State.

Sustainable Westchester, a nonprofit consortium of local Westchester County governments facilitating sustainability solutions, leads the Bee-Line On-Demand service proposal with electric vehicles managed by Westchester County and Via.

Bee-Line On-Demand will be the first fully electric on-demand transit service of its kind in Westchester County. It aims to expand access to convenient, sustainable, and affordable transportation for Peekskill residents who live and work far from the existing local fixed-route bus network. The service’s goal is to demonstrate how technology and electrification can create efficient, equitable public transportation for all New Yorkers — especially transit-dependent populations who may lack other mobility options. Similar on-demand transportation services have proven to help cities and transit agencies expand the reach of public transit, improve the rider experience, enable sustainable economic development, and encourage the reduction of single-occupancy vehicles.

Bee-Line On-Demand is partnering with Via, the global leader in TransitTech. Via’s intelligent algorithms will enable riders to book a ride to a location in the city, and then direct them to a “virtual bus stop” within a short walking distance – allowing for quick, efficient shared trips that provide more flexibility than traditional public transit’s fixed routes and schedules.

“Sustainable Westchester is thrilled to partner with Westchester County, the City of Peekskill, and Via to develop a model for clean on-demand transit that has broad applicability in Westchester,” said Nina Orville, Executive Director at Sustainable Westchester. “Already, officials in many other municipalities have expressed the desire for these services to be offered in their communities. We are excited to lead this pilot effort in Peekskill and then to support its eventual implementation elsewhere in the County.”

“The City of Peekskill is tremendously excited about this forward-thinking innovative proposal to reduce City residents’ dependence on greenhouse gas emitting vehicles in a smart effective way,” said Matthew Alexander, City Manager of the City of Peekskill. “We think Electric On-Demand mini-bus and van service are right-sized for our vibrant City!”

As one of 17 projects announced through Phase 1 of the competition, Bee-Line On-Demand is eligible to compete for up to $85 million in grand prizes under Phase 2. The project proposal will receive a Phase One award package of up to $200,000, including a $100,000 planning grant for further proposal development, up to $50,000 in funding for community partners, and up to $50,000 in in-kind support from technical experts.

Bee-Line On-Demand will be able to compete for a final grand prize for the Electric Mobility Challenge, which will award up to three $7 million grand prizes for projects that demonstrate electric mobility options that solve underserved community needs. As selected project teams finalize their proposals, they will prepare for a pitch competition held in the summer of 2022 with grand prizewinners expected to be announced in late summer 2022.

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