Georgia’s ATL Authority awarded $5.4 million federal grant to fund first ever Xpress electric buses

July 5, 20219min5950
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Routes to connect Clayton, Coweta, Fulton and Henry counties to Downtown, Midtown Atlanta

 

ATLANTA — The Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) was awarded $5.47 million in federal funding for 10 battery-electric commuter coaches and 11 chargers for the region’s Xpress Commuter Service. The buses are expected to initially operate on routes connecting Clayton, Coweta, Fulton, and Henry Counties to Downtown and Midtown Atlanta.

The funding was received through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) highly competitive Low-No Program which supports transit agencies in purchasing or leasing low- or no-emission buses and other transit vehicles that use technologies such as battery-electric and fuel-cell power to provide cleaner, more efficient transit service. This year’s funding opportunity prioritized applications with an environmental justice component as well as those with workforce development components to help transit workers succeed as their jobs change with new zero-emission technologies. The new electric (EV) coaches will be based out of Xpress’ South Operations Facility located in Clayton County and will replace 10 model year 2004 diesel buses. A portion of the federal grant will also support workforce development activities for Xpress, helping to ensure the Xpress operations and maintenance staff are well trained on battery electric bus systems.

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected as one of 49 projects awarded and greatly appreciate the support of our partners at the Federal Transit Administration and the efforts of the Georgia Congressional delegation in our receiving this transformative investment in our transit infrastructure”, said ATL Executive Director Chris Tomlinson. “The ATL was fortunate to also have the support of numerous state and local leaders, as well as the private sector.”

The ATL partnered with MCI, the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), and Atkins on the application. MCI manufactures the D45 CRTe LE (the only Federally tested/approved electric commuter coach currently on the market). CTE, the Atlanta based nonprofit, will provide project management, modeling, performance validation, and other technical assistance. Atkins will provide engineering services for infrastructure installation. The D45 CRTe LE Charge is a low-floor model bus that allows easier boarding and enhanced ADA accessibility for riders. The EV coaches are significantly quieter than their conventionally powered counterparts, offering a more comfortable and enjoyable rider experience.

“These electric coaches provide numerous benefits, including helping us improve fleet reliability, reducing our long-term maintenance needs, improving air quality, reducing noise pollution in the communities we serve, and eliminating the need for 87,000 gallons of fuel while reducing 901 tons of carbon emissions”, Tomlinson confirmed. “Moreover, these factors align with four of ATL’s Governing Principles: Environmental Sustainability, Equity, Innovation and Return on Investment – and ensures that our Xpress riders can continue to commute with confidence.”

In addition to this FTA Low-No award, the ATL has also partnered with Georgia Power through the company’s EV Make Ready Program to upgrade electrical infrastructure at Xpress’s South Ops facility. Infrastructure upgrades supported by the Make Ready Program are expected to support this initial 10 bus deployment while also facilitating future EV bus fleet expansions.

Xpress has 27 routes in 12 metro Atlanta counties that carry more than 1.8 million passenger trips annually to and from major employment centers in Downtown, Midtown, and Perimeter Center. Additional information is available at www.XpressGA.com to assist customers with selecting alternate transportation options. Customer service representatives are available Monday – Friday from 5:30 a.m. – 7p.m. at 844-XPRSSGA (977-7742).  Riders may also sign up for alerts by texting XPRESS to 888777.

 

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