RATP Dev introduced the first electric bus to the transit fleet at Zion National Park in southern Utah.
The vehicle, a Proterra E2, is being used full-time on regularly scheduled routes from August through October. It operates alongside the rest of the current liquid propane gas (LPG)-fueled fleet and is part of a pilot program that will inform broader plans to introduce more electric units at the park.
Plans to transition the entire Zion National Park fleet to electric began two years ago as part of the park’s sustainability initiative that started in the late 90s. The park shuttle system, which was implemented to eliminate automobile use in scenic areas, was initiated in 2000, and LPG was chosen as the fuel source over diesel to eliminate smog buildup in the park's canyons.
The use of electric buses is aimed to reduce emissions and cut noise pollution generated from the fleet for visitors. RATP Dev advocated for the three-month evaluation period to ensure the electric bus could support the ridership numbers and park conditions where temperatures can reach as high as 113 degrees during the day.
The Zion National Park transit system currently experiences an average of 105 riders per service hour and operates buses and passenger trailers that can accommodate up to 68 passengers per ride.