San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit is celebrating Earth Day with the expansion of its cleaner, greener fleet—the next step in VIA’s plan to deliver environmentally-friendly transit options for San Antonio and Bexar County.
VIA will add eight battery-electric powered buses to its growing sustainable fleet that kicked off on Earth Day 2017 with the rollout of the agency’s first CNG buses. To date, VIA has replaced 400 diesel-fueled buses with CNG models and met its goal to reduce NOx emissions in the region by about 97%. Earlier this year, VIA announced a new fuel supply partnership with CPS Energy to provide Renewable Natural Gas created by landfill biogas, a significant step forward in the supply of renewable fuel for use in VIA’s CNG fleet.
“As electric bus technology improves, it opens up new opportunities for VIA to provide sustainable transit services for our growing region that now include renewable fuel and battery power options to boost our clean energy initiatives,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “A significant reduction in harmful emissions improves air quality and an anticipated reduction of maintenance and fuel costs over conventional-powered buses also helps lower operational costs so that we can invest in more service for our customers.”
VIA has a diversified active fleet portfolio powered primarily by CNG fuel, with some diesel-electric hybrid, electric, diesel and propane vehicles in use. The new electric buses will allow VIA to retire its fleet of eight Downtown trolleys that were purchased in 2005 and are considered past their useful life.
The VIA Board in March approved the purchase of the 40-foot electric-powered vehicles from California-based GILLIG for an estimated $1.02 million each. Buses will be equipped with many of the same safety and security features as VIA’s existing fleet, including wheelchair ramps, vinyl seating, on-board cameras, and more. Delivery is expected in October 2022.