CapMetro Board approves one of the largest electric bus procurements in the U.S.

Sept. 28, 2021
The procurement will see 197 electric buses added to CapMetro’s fleet over the next five years.

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) will see a steady stream of new electric buses over the next five years thanks to the approval from the board of directors to purchase 197 new vehicles, which will expand the agency's zero-emission fleet to more than 200 vehicles and represents one of the largest electric vehicle procurements to date in the U.S.

The contract, which is worth a total of $254.98 million, includes buses supplied by Proterra and New Flyer of America. The base contract includes 56 vehicles, including 26 40-foot buses from both Proterra and New Flyer, along with four 60-foot electric buses from New Flyer. The contract includes options for an additional 126 40-foot electric buses and 15 60-foot electric buses, as well as chargers, training and warranties.

“Today’s announcement is a major milestone for CapMetro as we strive to provide safe, clean and equitable transportation for our community for generations to come,” said CapMetro President and CEO Randy Clarke. “Public transportation has a bright future in Central Texas as we continue to bring Project Connect to life in the coming years. With this electric bus procurement, we are showing our dedication to a cleaner tomorrow.”

The new buses will support CapMetro’s state of good repair, as well as help deliver expanded service for the new Expo Center and Pleasant Valley MetroRapid lines included in Project Connect. Out of the 197 new electric buses, 124 will be replacement vehicles and up to 73 will serve as expansion vehicles.

"Using zero-emissions buses adds to the quality of life of the Austin community," said District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria. “Once these buses are in service, they will be used for new bus routes in underserved areas of East Austin. They will also be critical for providing the area's residents convenient access to work, healthcare, educational and recreational opportunities."

CapMetro explains Project Connect aims to bridge initiatives addressing equity, sustainability and innovation by reimagining and implementing a transit program that will include a new rail system, underground stations, electrification of the transit system and more. As the backbone of its system, MetroBus will feature an all-electric fleet under Project Connect.

In addition to a reduction in air pollution, noise level and heat and fuel costs, CapMetro notes the new electric vehicles will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and engineering, including USB charging ports, plug-in and overhead charging, open seating floor plan and passenger digital display, among other amenities.

“Proterra is incredibly proud to build on our strong partnership with CapMetro and deliver our newest, fifth-generation electric bus technology to help Austin realize its important goal of 100 percent  zero-emission transportation,” said Josh Ensign, president of Proterra Transit. “Through its embrace of next-generation electric bus technology and charging infrastructure, CapMetro is setting a model for others to follow in the transition to clean, quiet transportation for all.”

“For over 20 years, New Flyer has propelled CapMetro’s expansion of safe, reliable, and accessible mobility in Austin, with 344 buses delivered since 1997,” said Chris Stoddart, president, New Flyer. “With our advanced electric buses – offering a lighter weight, longer range, and better energy recovery than ever before – Project Connect is evolving CapMetro’s fleet toward cleaner, quieter, more sustainable mobility, and building a more livable Austin.”

The first shipment of new electric vehicles is scheduled to arrive by the end of 2022.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.