CEO Kirt Conrad announced that Canton, Ohio’s Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), which operates one of the largest fleets of hydrogen fuel cell-powered transit vehicles in the U.S., has agreed to participate in the “Generation Zero” pledge program recently launched by Calstart, the broad-based consortium of private sector firms, government agencies, and academic institutions committed to developing clean, efficient alternative fuel solutions for the transportation industry.
According to Calstart, Generation Zero was created to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission (ZE) transit vehicles in the region by 360% over the next four years and ensure that ZEs represent 100% of all new transit vehicle sales in the Midwest by 2040 or earlier.
“SARTA is uniquely positioned to help Calstart achieve those laudable goals because Stark County has become a real-world, real-time proving ground and laboratory that generates performance data you can’t obtain by hooking a bus up to a computer or driving it around a test track,” Conrad said. “The vast amount of data and thousands of hours of practical experience we’ve gathered during that time provide clear and convincing evidence that H2 is the reliable, affordable, and cost-efficient power source that will drive the electrification of transportation in the U.S and across the globe.”
SARTA’s decision to become one of the first entities to join the Generation Zero partnership should come as no surprise. The transit agency received Calstart’s prestigious Blue Sky Award in 2020 for being a pioneer in the use of HFC vehicles in the public transit space and for creating the groundbreaking “Borrow A Bus” (BaB) program that raises public awareness about and generates support for H2 technology. After a year-long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, BaB took the road again in June completing a seven-day tour of California. Details of other trips, including a visit to Canada, will be released soon.
“We are excited about Generation Zero because we never want to pass up an opportunity to tout the advantages of the technology, discuss why we chose H2 ‘go-to’ alternative fuel source, and emphasize the essential role our riders, the residents of Stark County, and community leaders played in the creation and growth of zero-emission initiative,” Conrad said. “Their unwavering and enthusiastic support makes everything we do possible. When the history of the alternative fuel revolution is written, the people of Stark County are going to have starring roles.”