April 27, 2022

Sustainable Westchester’s electric, on-demand public transit service proposal selected as Phase One awardee by the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program

The Electric Mobility Challenge supports projects that use electric mobility options to address underserved community needs models to solve community transportation inequities.

Mt. Kisco, NY (April 28, 2022) — 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 operated by Bee-Line Bus, Westchester County’s public bus system.

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 resident’s 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!”

“We are thankful to Governor Kathy Hochul for this partnership with the State and Sustainable Westchester,” said George Latimer, Westchester County Executive. “Westchester County is excited about this opportunity to provide on-demand transit in the Peekskill area. On-demand transit services are the wave of the future and if successful in Peekskill, we would hope to replicate the service in other parts of the County.”

“Via is proud to support Sustainable Westchester’s Bee-Line On-Demand proposal as it paves the way for sustainable, equitable public transit in New York State,” said Andrei Greenawalt, Head of Public Policy at Via. “The combination of an on-demand transit model with electric vehicles is a powerful way to create access to meaningful opportunities for the Peekskill community.”

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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About Sustainable Westchester:

Sustainable Westchester is a nonprofit consortium of Westchester County local municipalities facilitating effective collaboration resulting in sustainability initiatives and cutting-edge innovation. Our goal is to bring socially responsible, environmentally sound, and economically viable solutions that create resilient, healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities.

About Via

Via builds innovative software to enable our customers—cities, transit agencies, transport operators, school districts, universities, and corporations—to transform their legacy transportation systems into advanced digital networks. As pioneers of the TransitTech category, Via’s mission is to expand access to efficient, affordable, and sustainable transportation. Via’s software enables organizations to digitize their existing transportation networks and launch new and innovative services, simultaneously lowering operating costs and increasing quality of service. Our software is used in over 500 communities in more than 35 countries around the world.

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