Well, that was fast. Just a few weeks after launching ten all-electric buses for its Downtown Circulator routes, TARC has received funds to add five more, bringing Louisville’s fleet of ZeroBuses to 15—that’s the second largest fleet in the country. The buses replace diesel-powered trolley buses along the route, and bring significant pollution and noise reductions to Downtown Louisville.
ZeroBuses provide free rides and free wifi along two routes through Downtown Louisville—one east to west and the other north to south. The circulator routes are in operation every day except Sunday and run on 10 to 18 minute intervals.
“Passengers have told us they love the ZeroBus and they can take it all around downtown to some of our city’s most popular destinations,” TARC Executive Director Barry Barker said in a statement. “The ZeroBus has operated only 22 days and that’s already resulted in a reduction of nearly 2,000 pounds of harmful emissions into the air downtown, compared to emissions we would have had with the trolleys that were replaced.”
The expansion was made possible by a $3.3 million grant from the Federal Transportation Administration. The remainder of the $5.9 million expansion cost comes from TARC and Metro Louisville. In addition to the new buses, a third in-route charging station will be installed and initial development will begin on a 200,000 square foot solar-paneled roof on TARC’s bus storage building at Union Station.
“We envision having a diesel-free downtown and generating enough power through solar panels on our roof to significantly save on energy use and costs,” Barker said.
The new buses, manufactured by South Carolina–based Proterra, will arrive in 2016. According to TARC:
ZeroBuses operate on the Fourth Street circulator route from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and on Main-Market from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekdays. Buses run on both routes from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays. They will also be in service on the Republic Bank First Friday Hop, beginning with the Hop on Friday, Feb. 6, from 5-11 p.m.
[Top Image: A ZeroBus charges at a stop on West Market Street. (Darius Pinkston / Flickr)]