Island Transit Board of Directors approves ZEB transition plan

March 8, 2023
The board’s approval sets in motion the agency’s plan to decarbonize the fleet by 2035.

The Island Transit Board of Directors approved the implementation of the proposed zero-emissions transition plan. The board’s approval sets in motion the agency’s plan to decarbonize the fleet by 2035.

Since August of 2022, the agency, working with Hatch LTK, evaluated and identified the available zero-emission technology, including the renewable nature of the energy required, the reliability and availability of the energy and the infrastructure needed to support new buses.

In addition to the study conducted by Hatch LTK, the agency has spent the last several years researching best practices, interviewing experts in zero-emissions technologies, attending webinars and conferences and visiting several other transportation agencies in the Pacific Northwest utilizing these technologies.

“This transition plan allows the agency to move toward a zero-emissions fleet while we continue to deliver expanded and new transit services to better serve its community members,” said Island Transit Board of Directors President and City of Oak Harbor Councilmember Beth Munns.

Whidbey and Camano Island bus services operate in a unique rural environment as compared to urban transit agencies with access to larger infrastructures. The transition plan outlined technologies that would accommodate the islands’ environmental and technological constraints, including sustained power outages and daily 300-plus- mile routes. This in-depth study also addressed the topology, elevation, weather, frequency of stops and other factors affecting energy consumption of the current fleet as the baseline to determine what zero propulsion technologies can support the service routes. The recommended technologies include a combination of all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems.

“The combination of fuel propulsion systems reduces the geographic and infrastructural barriers that would limit services to our community members,” said Todd Morrow, Island Transit executive director. “This transition will occur in a phased approach and serve as the guide to future vehicle purchases.”

Island Transit has already taken steps toward transitioning the entire fleet away from fossil fueled vehicles. The agency added five battery electric vehicles to their rideshare program, as well as placed in service 18 alternative fuel vehicles to its fleet, including three electric hybrid Gilligs and 15 propane cutaways.

Island Transit continues to support a sustainable, clean transportation future with renewable energy solutions. 

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Hatch LTK

Aug. 9, 2012