TARC Rolls Out Six New Proterra Battery-Electric Buses

Aug. 2, 2016
TARC has begun adding six new all-electric, zero-emission buses along the Fourth Street corridor between downtown and Iroquois Park, stopping at some of the city’s most popular destinations.

TARC has begun adding six new all-electric, zero-emission buses along the Fourth Street corridor between downtown and Iroquois Park, stopping at some of the city’s most popular destinations. With the new buses, TARC will have a total of 15 all-electric buses on the road, making it one of the largest electric bus operators in the country.

“We know passengers enjoy a quiet, clean ride and it doesn’t get better than this,” said TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker. “We encourage everyone – visitors and residents alike – to take a ride on one of these zero-emissions, modern buses, and have fun visiting top city attractions.”

The new buses, which feature a bike rack for up to three bikes, travel everyday exclusively on Route #4-Fourth Street between downtown and Iroquois Park and also on a section of the route to Strawberry Lane on weekends. They stop at or near Museum Row downtown, the University of Louisville, Speed Museum, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby Museum, Old Louisville, restaurants, hotels, and much more.

Barker was joined by Mayor Greg Fischer, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and officials of Churchill Downs Racetrack, the Kentucky Derby Museum and Proterra Inc. to showcase the new buses near the entrance to the racetrack.

“Since coming into office in 2011, I’ve emphasized our city value of creating a healthier and more sustainable Louisville,” said Fischer.  “Efforts like this, adding these sleek, modern buses to our TARC fleet, are how we live that value, and how we bring that value to life for our citizens.”

The buses provide cleaner air, fuel conservation and maintenance cost savings. They replace buses that are 16 years old and have traveled more than 600,000 miles. The harmful emissions from the old buses – more than 30,000 pounds each year into the air – will be eliminated with the electric buses. About 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year will also be spared.

“This is an investment in clean, modern transportation for all that will result in improved air quality and health benefits in our community. It’s the kind of forward progress I’m proud to support”, said U. S. Rep. John Yarmuth.

The buses, a $4.65 million investment, were funded primarily with a $3.3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicles Deployment Program. Other federal and local funding covered the remaining costs.

With the six new buses, TARC’s all-electric fleet is the second largest of its kind in the country, and the largest east of the Mississippi.  In Jan., 2015, TARC launched nine all-electric green and blue ZeroBus vehicles, also manufactured by Proterra.  They replaced high polluting trolley buses on fare-free downtown circulator routes.

The new buses rely on the same on-route charging technology as the ZeroBus vehicles, but there are differences. Regular fare ($1.75 one-way for an adult) is required on the new electric buses, which operate with other TARC buses on Rt. #4-Fourth Street. The new buses are also bigger than the ZeroBus vehicles and feature TARC’s updated silver, blue and red exterior design.   

“As Louisville continues to see robust growth, Mayor Fischer and TARC are setting a tremendous example for urban sustainability that reduces Louisville's carbon footprint, preserves the local environment and helps to ensure the health and well-being of its citizens,” said Matt Horton, Proterra’s senior vice president, sales and marketing,  “With the city’s continued transition to zero-emission, battery-electric transit buses, we are proud to be a partner in making this strategy a reality and providing clean, quiet transportation for the community."

Linking major destinations is another benefit.

“As a longtime resident of our community, having celebrated our 142nd year in South Louisville with the 2016 Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack is thrilled to join the Kentucky Derby Museum and other signature tourism attractions on the daily routes served of TARC’s newest electric buses,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “The businesses and attractions along the routes travelled by these state-of-the-art, zero-emission buses are investing in our city through ongoing improvements and enhancements, and TARC’s new electric buses are a wonderful complement to those efforts and will benefit both visitors to our community and our neighbors who live and work here year-round.”

Patrick Armstrong, president of the Kentucky Derby Museum said, “We are excited that the nearly 230,000 guests we see each year will have the option of utilizing world-class, green, public transportation. Whether it’s to get around locally or hop on as a visitor connecting to us from downtown, these buses will enhance their overall experience.”

Transit Authority of River City (TARC)
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