[tabi] electric buses for StarMetro

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 09:43:11 -0400



StarMetro unveils new electric buses, charging stations

The fleet of all-electric buses in Tallahassee is growing.

Now at five, StarMetro has the largest fleet of alternative-fueled
public transportation

in the U.S.

City and industry officials unveiled the newest in the fleet and three
Proterra FastFill

charging stations this morning at the C.K. Steele Plaza along with one
of the buses

after they rode, emission-free and nearly silently from City Hall to the
main station.

"As I stand here with such innovative technology over my head," said
Mayor John Marks

at the unveiling pointing to the charging system. "I'm reminded that we
are not only

leading the industry in Tallahassee, but across the state and frankly
across the


The electric buses, which cost $950,000 each, have the potential to save
the city

about $167,000 a year in fuel costs as opposed to the traditional diesel
fueled buses

costing around $450,000 each and an additional $50,000 annually in fuel
to run.

The electricity to recharge the buses will run about 14 cents per

for a total of around $7,500 in the same span, something City
Commissioner Gil Ziffer

said is important as the city tries to quench a budget deficit.

Those savings are "real money," Ziffer said. "Look, they're unbelievably

buses that are good for our environment and we've always been big into
that," noting

that the buses should be a welcome addition for the 28,000 customers in
the Leon,

Gadsden and Wakulla areas that utilize natural gas.

Ivan Maldonado, executive director of StarMetro said in an email that
while the cost

for an electric bus may seem high, as more clients, like Disney, look
into using

them, he expects the price to drop.

Maldonado said the traditional diesel buses get 3.79 mpg, while their
electric counterparts

get an estimated 22.5 mpg; the three charging stations cost $1 million
and will increase

the fuel economy of the system by 500- 640 percent, according to

Cities like Los Angeles are in the process of procuring similar systems;
it just

signed an agreement to acquire 25 buses July 1. Still Tallahassee
remains an innovative


Michael Hennessy, Proterra regional sales director, said the buses, and
the overhead

charging stations would allow the buses to refuel while passengers were
loading and

unloading, improving route times and the number of stops the system can

Proterra is South Carolina-based company that started its vision of
developing domestically

made, environmentally sound transportation systems in the 1990s in
Denver, where

the first set of buses similar to the ones in Tallahassee today still

Commissioner Scott Maddox, a strong supporter of the public transit
system, said

while StarMetro was aiding the people who rode the buses over 73,000
times in 2012,

especially mothers and grandmothers in the community, the addition of
the eco-friendly

buses made him think about "taking care of the most important mother of
all, Mother

Nature...and not adding to our problem with fossil fuels."

The buses, which can be recharged in 10 minutes, are the result of a $5
million award

to StarMetro in 2010 from the Federal Transit Administration as part of
the Transit

Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction grant.

In 2012 the FTA increased the grant to $2 million, which StarMetro used
to purchase

two additional buses, to bring the number on the road to five.

Commissioner Andrew Gillum said StarMetro and the service has been a
priority of

the city as they work through a budget that has almost a $5 million
deficit, and

a possible $1 million gap in the StarMetro budget.

However in a June 19 city budget workshop Gillum said the holes in the

system, and the subsequent fixes in route development of StarMetro, were

and were not enough to be considered a success story.

Tuesday, he said the addition of the new buses, in addition to being

would put additional sets of wheels into the public transport fleet to
better serve

commuters. "This is a step in the right direction to increase
circulation," Gillum

said. "They are fuel efficient and save us on the cost of operating the
system, but

this is another step that moves us forward toward a desirable and
effective bus system."

Gillum said with the funds for the five new buses coming from grants,
the opportunity

to use the money that the city didn't have to spend should be
capitalized on.

"They allow us to put the money we have to hiring more drivers for a
more efficient

service," Gillum said. "But we will have to get to the point to where
we'll have

to make some hard decisions about our routes and whether we're spending
the right

money on them."

The electric buses will begin running regularly in August.

Other related posts:

  • » [tabi] electric buses for StarMetro - Chip Orange