AUSTIN (KXAN) — With 197 electric buses approved for purchase by the Capital Metro Board of Directors Monday, officials said Austin now leads with the largest electric bus purchase nationwide. The city will now be home to more than 200 electric vehicles as part of its zero-emissions public transit fleet.
“Today’s announcement is a major milestone for CapMetro as we strive to provide safe, clean and equitable transportation for our community for generations to come,” CapMetro President and CEO Randy Clarke said in the release. “Public transportation has a bright future in Central Texas as we continue to bring Project Connect to life in the coming years. With this electric bus procurement, we are showing our dedication to a cleaner tomorrow.”
The newly purchased buses will replace the city’s regular fleet, as well as expand the fleet to service upcoming Expo Center and Pleasant Valley MetroRapid lines incorporated into Project Connect. Proterra and New Flyer are the manufacturers behind the upcoming zero-emission buses.
Also outlined in Project Connect, the city plans to transit its entire 400 vehicle public transit fleet to zero-emission options.
Austin’s zero-emission buses are estimated to save approximately 230,000 pounds of greenhouses gases annually, per the release. Alongside a reduction in greenhouse gases emitted, zero-emission buses are also linked to reduced air pollution, noise levels, heat and fuel expenses, per the release.
Features of the zero-emission vehicles include USB charging ports, plug-in and overhead charging areas and an open seating floor plan, per the release.
“Using zero-emissions buses adds to the quality of life of the Austin community,” District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria said in the release. “Once these buses are in service, they will be used for new bus routes in underserved areas of East Austin. They will also be critical for providing the area’s residents convenient access to work, healthcare, educational and recreational opportunities.”