February 28, 2013

Texas’ VIA rolls out electric bus service

On Tuesday, 2013 VIA Metropolitan Transit rolled out a new kind of transit bus for the San Antonio area, one that runs solely on electricity provided by on-board batteries.

Called the Arc, the electric bus service was made possible by a grant from the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The funding was made available to encourage the use of cutting-edge environmental technologies, and a total of $100 million was awarded in a nationwide competition.

VIA is one of just 43 transit agencies from across the nation that received this funding, and it is also the only transit agency in Texas that was awarded in this process.

The grant of $5,000,000 was given to VIA Metropolitan Transit to purchase and operate three electric-powered buses built by Proterra in the downtown area. VIA is just one of two transit agencies in the U.S. to have these buses in service.

“VIA is excited to have the opportunity to bring electric buses to San Antonio,” said Jeffrey Arndt, VIA’s interim president/CEO. “The Arc service marks a new direction for VIA as we introduce a completely emissions-free way to provide transit service to the central business district.”

The three composite body buses will operate on VIA’s downtown circulator routes and be recharged at the Robert Thompson Transit Station at the Alamodome. As the batteries are charged, they will receive energy that is generated either by solar panels installed as part of the project or by turbines in West Texas wind farms as part of VIA’s Windtricity agreement with CPS Energy.

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