The city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, added transit bus service for residents that is the manifestation of the future of transit in two key areas.
First, the new bus fleet is fully electric from day one. “Our systems is one of the very few, maybe the only system in our country, to start out with its entire fleet being electric vehicles,” Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys said. The first of the 35-foot Proterra Catalyst buses arrived in March and was put into service in a loop route, serving the downtown are on June 10th. Another bus went into service on July 1st.
Second, and perhaps most important, the new buses are free to ride.
Delivering the promise of a fully-electric, zero emission bus fleet that citizens are encouraged to ride by its free price represents several impactful steps forward into the future of transportation for local residents. Not only are the electric buses quieter, they won’t bring the particulate and CO2 intensive emissions into the city in the first place. “This is no ordinary bus: it’s all electric, powered by batteries,” Gettys said. “And that means it’s extremely quiet on the road and has no emissions. In fact, it doesn’t even have a tailpipe.”
Residents are excited about the opportunities the new bus routes will open up for them as the new free bus service enables lower income residents to move across the city without having to worry about car payments, insurance, or gasoline. “This is an economic development tool that will bring change, wealth and prosperity to many more people in Rock Hill than have ever had that chance before in life,” Gettys said.
The new buses are also a much needed transit solution for the local University. Dr. Dan Mahony, Winthrop University president said, “When I arrived in 2015 and we talked with students about transportation needs, the thing that came up over and over again was the need for a bus system in this community. And it was clear after a while that not only was it important to our students, but to our faculty, staff and really the entire Rock Hill community.” Two of the new bus routes will come onto the campus, enabling students a new level of mobility.