Bus

WeGo to pilot tech allowing hybrid buses to convert to battery mode

Posted on October 16, 2018

The data-connectivity from having onboard Wi-Fi will also benefit bus operations along Murfreesboro Pike, where the transit signal priority project construction is wrapping up.
WeGo Public Transit
The data-connectivity from having onboard Wi-Fi will also benefit bus operations along Murfreesboro Pike, where the transit signal priority project construction is wrapping up.
WeGo Public Transit

Nashville’s WeGo Public Transit announced onboard technology coming to its fleet that will help customers move smarter and better throughout the city.

As part of the rebranding process, the agency's articulated bus fleet will gradually be repainted to reflect the WeGo brand. The first rebranded articulated bus can be seen out and about in Nashville starting Friday, October 12. These longer buses, sometimes referred to as bendy buses, operate on the city's major corridors (Charlotte, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, and Nolensville Pikes). While repainting the entire bus fleet is a long-term project, customers will be able to start enjoying the free Wi-Fi onboard the articulated buses first.

"Wi-Fi on our buses is a long-time request of customers and comes on the heels of a WeGo partnership with Metro Nashville ITS last year to make free Wi-Fi available at both Riverfront Station and WeGo Central bus station downtown," WeGo Public Transit CEO Steve Bland said. "Wi-Fi is an amenity which will allow customers to work while commuting, providing another source of convenience and comfort while using transit."

The data-connectivity from having onboard Wi-Fi will also benefit bus operations along Murfreesboro Pike, where the transit signal priority project construction is wrapping up. It will enable bus operators to begin using green-light extenders, queue jumps, and bus-only lanes to improve on-time performance in 2019.

Customers will also notice WeGo's buses have new fare boxes. Installation of the new fare boxes will wrap up next week and, with the aforementioned Wi-Fi onboard, will bring the agency one step closer to implementing its new fare collection system in 2019.

Select newly-branded buses also feature an exclusive pilot GPS-based technology, allowing WeGo's newest hybrid buses to switch from diesel emissions to a battery-only mode. Spearheaded by BAE Systems, three of the new buses will test out the program, which aims to go into a quiet, electric vehicle mode around certain hospitals, schools, universities, and inside WeGo Central.

"We want to be an innovator in the industry, and we want to be able to offer a cleaner, more efficient ride with fewer emissions for the city," WeGo COO India Birdsong said. "The pilot partnership with BAE Systems will allow us to roll out the technology slowly and to make tweaks and fine-tune where necessary. This will help us provide the best product we can to improve the air quality in the communities we serve when we are ready to roll it out system-wide."

The goal of the pilot program is to expand the GPS-tech throughout the fleet as well as expand the zones so that Davidson County's more populated areas can enjoy reduced carbon-emissions and less noise pollution while public transit can be found.

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