After being sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, Ohio’s Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) kicked off its Borrow A Bus (BaB) Zero Emission Tour on May 28.
As part of the tour, one of the transit authority’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered (HFC) buses will be loaded on a trailer and driven cross-country to California where it will make a 10-day swing through the Golden State. The bus will be fueled by the NICE America mobile submerged pump system, which is currently being tested at SARTA’s 1600 Gateway Blvd. headquarters complex in Canton, Ohio.
“We’re eager to restart BaB because the promotion enables us to make HFC’s part of the discussion about the future of zero-emission transportation that has, to this point, been dominated by the plug-in electric sector,” said SARTA CEO Kirt Conrad.
“Being on the road gives us the opportunity to share the vast amount of data we’ve accumulated and practical experience we’ve gained by operating our HFC fleet on the streets and highways of Stark County in every imaginable type of weather over the past ten years,” he explained. “As a result, we can demonstrate conclusively to transit and government officials that HFC buses offer the range, reliability, and affordability that makes this technology the best zero-emission solution in the transportation space.”
Since making its first trip to the Central Midlands Transit Authority in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2019, the BaB tour has visited Washington, D.C.; Alexandria, Virginia; Chicago, Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, Florida; Lansing, Michigan; and New Brunswick, New Jersey.
In 2020, SARTA received the prestigious Calstart Blue Sky Award for BaB.
The California swing will begin on June 1 and includes stops in Riverside, West Covina, Hesperia, San Luis Obispo, Stockton, Modesto, San Francisco, Alameda, Sacramento, and Redding where it will be demoed for transit and government officials by Conrad and representatives of El Dorado National, the company that manufactured the HFC bus that is being showcased. The bus will be transported back to Canton on June 6.