Residents in the capital city of Alaska will get to experience an all-electric zero-emission bus later this month. Juneau’s Capital Transit has unveiled its first battery-electric bus, which goes into service starting today, April 14. This will be the first electric bus owned and operated by a public transit agency in the state of Alaska.
This is not the agency’s first electric vehicle, though. Confused? Capital Transit dipped its toes into the EV ocean first by buying three electric cars, which the agency uses as support vehicles.
Public Works and Engineering Director Katie Koester said, “The City and Borough of Juneau is committed to bringing clean, safe, and reliable public transportation to its ridership and the community.” She added, “Capital Transit drivers and mechanics have been retraining to operate and maintain the new 40-foot long bus and to learn the nuances of its integrated battery management system. We have eliminated oil changes.”
The transit agency unveiled the bus, which was manufactured by Proterra, during an event last week. Mayor Beth Weldon of Juneau hosted the dedication ceremony for the city’s first electric bus. Guests in attendance included Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, State Senator Jesse Kiehl, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Commissioner John MacKinnon, and Proterra representative Mark Hollenbeck.
Capital Transit’s new bus will service the Mendenhall Expressroute traveling via Glacier Highway between the Downtown Transit Center and the Mendenhall Mall. Eventually, Capital Transit plans to relocate to the Mendenhall Mall.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funded the electric bus through its Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant Program, which provides funding for state and local governmental authorities to purchase or lease zero-emission and low-emission transit buses.
Part of the funding came from the Volkswagen settlement from its dieselgate scandal. A matching grant from that pool of money added onto the money from the DOT/FTA, via the Alaska Energy Authority.
The City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) Assembly has set a goal of 80% renewable energy by 2045. The new all-electric and zero-emission bus is just one more step toward the city’s goal.
The CBJ noted that Capital Transit has been successful in being awarded Low- and No-Emission grants for four consecutive years with the help of its many supporters. It plans to use the funds to replace seven 2010 diesel buses that are at the end of their useful lives.
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