Pace celebrates first electric paratransit vehicle

June 11, 2024
This vehicle was procured through Pace’s Project Zero plan for the transition to a full zero-emissions fleet by 2040.

Pace Suburban Bus (Pace) has launched its first electric paratransit vehicle. Pace received the 15-passenger, accessible vehicle earlier this year thanks to Community Project Funding secured by U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL-6). This vehicle represents a milestone for Pace’s Project Zero plan for the transition to a zero-emissions fleet by 2040.

“I was thrilled to secure the federal funding for the brand new all-electric Pace buses. These buses will lower fuel costs, make our environment healthier and cleaner, and work to combat climate change in Illinois,” said Rep. Casten. 

The Community Project Funding of $1 million allows Pace to purchase five new battery-electric paratransit buses to replace existing fossil-fuel buses at Pace’s River Division in Elgin, Ill. The new vehicle, which is a Optimal EV E1 chassis on a Coach and Equipment body, will be placed into service in the western suburbs later this year after training and vehicle testing are complete. 

.As exciting as our I-55 express service is, today we’re here to celebrate another Pace success story—that of our climate change mitigation efforts,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger. "Pace’s legacy of progress and innovation has led us to this vehicle you see today—which is better for passengers, easier for our bus operators and cleaner for the environment. We are grateful for Congressman Casten’s support of our efforts.” 


As Pace celebrates 40 years of service, the agency is pleased to report that overall ridership is at approximately 78 percent of 2019 ridership levels, and ADA paratransit service ridership is already over 100 percent of 2019 levels. To thank existing passengers and encourage people who are not regular riders to try transit, Pace is offering a weekend of free rides on June 8 and June 9. This anniversary special is an opportunity to experience the convenience and benefits of public transportation at no cost. Metra is also offering free rides this weekend, so passengers are encouraged to utilize both services to attend popular events in Chicago and the suburbs or otherwise explore the region.