This story about an electric bus joining the shuttle fleet at Zion National Park was first published on Gas2.
A Proterra E2 electric bus will be used for a 3 month trial period starting this month and ending in October at Zion National Park in Utah. Buses at Zion routinely carry up to 105 riders per service hour, compared to an average of 58 riders per service hour for the New City bus system. That means every bus is entirely filled on virtually every trip it makes all day, every day.
The Zion transportation system is operated by RATP Dev, which carries more than 1.5 billion passengers each year in 14 countries on 4 continents. It has been operating the shuttle service at Zion for almost 30 years and began planning to introduce electric buses at Zion National Park 2 years ago. In 2000, it replaced all the diesel buses in the system with units powered by LPG in order to reduce smog-causing emissions over the park.
The Proterra electric bus will help RATP Dev evaluate how effective it is at taming emissions and lowering ambient noise levels so visitors can more full appreciate the tranquility of the location. The results could influence whether more electric buses are added to the fleet in the future. One of the parameters that will challenge the Proterra electric bus is temperatures at the park that can reach as much as 113 degrees. If it can handle the load factor and high temps, the plan to transition to a fully electric bus fleet will move forward.
“We are very excited to see how this new electric unit performs here at the park,” says Frank Austin, RATP Dev’s General Manager of the Park’s transit service. “Sustainability is a crucial goal here, and an electric bus fleet gives us the ability to continue to protect the park. We trained nine drivers to operate the vehicle, which is longer than the rest of units in the fleet.
“Our pilot program will provide us with the necessary data we need to ensure that an electric fleet can reliably support the 5,143,148 riders we transported last year under the extreme conditions of the desert,” Austin calls it. “A true crucible test if there ever was one. ”
“More and more transit agencies are turning to RATP Dev because we have global experience deploying and training teams to operate electric buses,” said Blaine Rigler, Vice President of Bus Services for RATP Dev North America. “Our parent organization, RATP Group, already operates nearly 900 hybrid buses, 55 electric buses, and 140 buses using renewable gas in cities around the globe.
“RATP Group is strongly committed to the transition to low-emission vehicles in major, transit-heavy cities, notably through its Bus 2025 program which consists of a 100% low emission bus fleet throughout Paris, and two fully electric bus routes in London in 2018. We are excited to bring these new models to Zion National Park and helping our clients research and invest in greener transit innovations.”
Source: RATP Dev America