DRPT awards $3.26 million to Arlington Transit for battery electric buses

Aug. 18, 2023
The BEB's will be the first in ART’s fleet, with more to come in a proposed larger contract for a total of 19 buses to replace aging vehicles.

As a part of Arlington's commitment to sustainable public transportation, Arlington Transit (ART) has invested in four battery electric buses (BEB), which will  be the first BEBs in ART’s fleet.

"Delivering transit service is at the core of who we are and what we do, when it comes to realizing our vision of smart growth that is environmentally conscious and sustainable,” said Christian Dorsey a chair of the Arlington County Board.

The American-made buses by Gillig were chosen for their success in tests of operations by ART staff on a variety of Arlington routes in 2022.

The purchase was a part of a proposed larger contract for a total of 19 buses to replace aging vehicles in the ART fleet. The four BEB pilot buses include three 588 kWh buses and one 686 kWh battery bus. The vehicles will be deployed following the completion of the ART Operations and Maintenance Facility on Shirlington Road.

"This purchase is the second step of the county board’s focus on a greener, healthier future for Arlington Transit,” says Lynn Rivers, transit bureau chief for Arlington County. “The first step began with our public vehicle demonstrations of BEB technology. The partnership with Gillig points us in the right direction for a reliable and resilient zero-emission transit fleet that contributes to a cleaner, healthier County."

The initial BEBs are part of a pilot to evaluate new technologies within ART operations while maintaining current reliable levels of service. Seventy-eight Compressed Natural Gas buses compose ART’s current fleet. The purchase of zero-emission buses and mobile chargers underscore Arlington's noted commitment to becoming a carbon neutral community by 2050.

The buses were funded through a combination of $3.26 million from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and $1.16 million from local county transportation funding.