St. Louis Metro transit is looking to the future with efforts to improve and enhance transit services to meet the ever changing needs of the St. Louis region. A recent Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant will allow Metro to create a more environmentally responsible transit system through new ideas and technology. The grant funding is from the FTA’s Low or No Emissions Program, which allows transit agencies to purchase alternative fuel or electric transportation options at subsidized prices. Metro will be using these funds to purchase two 40ft battery electric buses from Gillig. These buses will be incorporated into Metro’s fleet by late 2020.
Through a partnership with Ameren Missouri, Gillig, and the Center for Transportation and the Environment Metro was able to apply for the grant. These electric buses are expected to have a range of 300-350 miles per change, which is what Metro expects as most of their current diesel-powered buses averaging about 200 miles a day in service.
St. Louis Metro’s Executive Director Ray Friem stated, “We are always evaluating new technology and are constantly looking for new opportunities to provide better transit service for our customers while improving air quality. With the help of our partners, we are making an investment that will add reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly electric buses to the MetroBus fleet, and help shape the future of public transit in the St. Louis region.”
Vice President of Sales at GILLIG Joe Policarpio stated, “Gillig is extremely excited to work with Metro Transit on this project with our new electric bus technology.” He went on to say, “Metro has been an extremely important partner with GILLIG over the years in deploying innovative technologies that have resulted in escalating Metro’s on-time fleet performance and reliability, as well as reducing their costs. Not only will GILLIG’s electric bus fit particularly well into Metro’s fleet by providing quiet and emissions-free operation throughout the St. Louis region, its common platform with Metro’s existing GILLIG fleet will minimize the need for additional parts inventory and training.”
All-electric buses quickly gaining popularly all across the country and offers numerous advantages over their diesel counterparts, but at greater costs.
Metro’s bus fleet consists mainly of Gilligs except for fifteen New Flyer Articulated buses that are used mainly on the 70 Grand route. Metro is planning for the future and hopes to seek additional funding to purchase and expand the fleet of electric buses next decade.
Image credit: St. Louis Metro and Gillig