MetroLINK is pleased to announce the addition of five new Proterra battery electric buses to their Metro fleet, bringing the total of battery electric buses to eight. At a ribbon cutting this morning, U.S. Rep Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region VII Administrator Mokhtee Ahmad helped usher in the newest additions to the Metro fleet.
In addition to the expansion of the battery electric bus fleet, MetroLINK developed an innovative solution to deploy the latest depot charging equipment while maximizing safety and efficiently utilizing existing bus storage space. While most agencies wall-mount or pedestal-mount their chargers and distribute the dispensers and cords next to the electric buses, MetroLINK worked with a local engineering and electrical firm to design and install a ceiling mounted system. By finding an innovative way to mount its chargers, MetroLINK is able to reap the benefits of electric buses without having to change the layout of its bus depot, and it can continue to maximize space to install more chargers to support a larger electric bus fleet.
In 2002, MetroLINK began a clean air initiative with the introduction of clean-burning compressed natural gas buses. With 80 percent of the fleet currently running on compressed natural gas (CNG), the introduction of battery-electric buses is the next step in environmentally sustainable fleet technology. In addition to zero emissions, each battery-electric bus results in additional operational cost savings over the lifetime of the bus. Quieter than any other transit bus on the market, the electric buses offer a state of the art wheelchair securement system manufactured by Q’Straint, nine (9) Apollo security cameras including all new 4K technology and a 360 degree camera system, and an electronic infotainment system manufactured by Luminator. Fueled with electricity provided by MidAmerican Energy, the buses have 30 percent fewer parts, with no liquid fuel or oil changes, thus reducing maintenance labor costs.
The latest battery electric bus procurement was made possible through the help of U.S. Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Rep. Bustos and their support of a Federal Transportation Administration 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities grant that allowed MetroLINK to purchase the five additional Proterra battery-electric buses and charging equipment.
Future bus fleet replacements will include the replacement of nine original CNG buses with battery electric buses, CNG, or a combination.