VIA Metropolitan Transit debuted the first of eight electric buses it expects to begin deploying into service later this year. The electric buses are part of the agency’s commitment to more sustainable transit options and the vehicles join a fleet that consist of nearly 500 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
“The addition of new all-electric buses keeps VIA moving in the right direction with green technologies that are advancing to a point that makes them practical, as well as sustainable,” said VIA Metropolitan President and CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt. “VIA’s CNG fleet conversion delivered up to a 97 percent reduction of harmful emissions from the vehicles they replaced and put us on the road to a cleaner, greener future.”
The VIA Board approved a contract with Gillig in March 2021 for the 40-foot Arc buses that will feature a 38-passenger capacity, on-board telematics, a charge time of four hours and passenger amenities such as USB charging ports at every seat.
Part of the project, which was funded with support of a federal grant, included the construction of a charging area for the eight new buses. Earlier this year, a covered 12-bay docking area was completed and currently houses four charging stations that are capable of charging two buses each. VIA is testing the Arc buses, training staff and operators and finalizing the charging infrastructure.
VIA plans to place two Arc buses into service this summer for testing and data collection, which will help the agency determine how it will subsequently deploy the full electric fleet.