Albany International Airport has rolled out new services for people driving electric cars or who are heading for the cheese shops and ski slopes of Vermont.
Starting last week, people with electric cars can recharge them at the airport parking facilities while they’re away. Meanwhile, a new commercial bus connection to and from Vermont made its debut.
The six electric charging stations opened on Wednesday. They’re the first to open under a $1.6 million New York Power Authority contract with EV Connects of Los Angeles, which will install 100 charging stations at 37 locations around the state.
They’re part of the Multi-State Zero-Emission Vehicle Action Plan, an effort to promote alternative fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. New York, California and a few other states want 3.3 million zero-emission cars on U.S. roads by 2025, and are providing the infrastructure to support them.
At the airport, there are three charging stations in the main garage, and three more in the long-term parking lot. Each can supply up to six kilowatts of power, which should be enough juice to charge a Chevy Leaf, Ford C-Max or Nissan Leaf in about four hours.
For the first two years, people using the stations won’t be charged for electricity.
Software will report how often the charging stations are used, the length of charges and the amount of energy dispensed — information the Power Authority and its partner, the state Energy Research and Development Authority, will use to refine details for future charging installations.
More than 8,000 electric vehicles now operate in the state — and the number is growing, state officials said. So the stations will get used, even if not right away.
The other interesting development at the airport is the establishment of regular daily bus service from and to Vermont.
The new service, subsidized by the Vermont Agency for Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, provides service from Burlington to the airport, passing through Middlebury, Rutland and Bennington.
In general, Albany International has many more daily flights available than does Burlington’s airport. Albany has around 1.2 million passenger boardings a year, twice as many as Burlington.
Vermonters who live from Rutland south tend to come to Albany when flying anyway, said Albany airport spokesman Doug Myers.
“This will be of great assistance to people who are going to Bennington, Rutland and Killington,” Myers said. “We get that in summer as well as winter.”
Then, there are people from the Green Mountain State who are looking to leave for places flatter and warmer.
“There’s been times when I’ve surveyed the parking lot and as many as 5 percent of the cars had Vermont plates,” Myers said.
Vermont officials said a study showed there will be support for the service, which is being provided by a private operator, Vermont TransLines.
A one-way ticket from Burlington to Albany is $34. Federal money is paying $400,000 per year to subsidize the new route and a second bus route in central Vermont, state officials said.
Vermont, of course, is known for the green politics as well as its green mountains. “Public transit is essential to many Vermonters, and a strong system is in the best interests of the state,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a press release.
The Vermont bus, which can carry up to 60 people, arrives at the airport at 12:35 p.m. daily and departs at 2:25 p.m. for a trip that takes only one hour to reach Bennington, but is a five-hour ride to Burlington.