Capital Metro adds more electric buses to its roster as it looks to move to a completely low-emissions fleet

Capital Metro, Austin's public transit agency, is set to further increase its electric bus fleet after its board approved the purchase of six new vehicles Aug. 26.

Capital Metro, Austin's public transit agency, is set to further increase its electric bus fleet after its board approved the purchase of six new vehicles Aug. 26.

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Capital Metro 60-foot electric bus
Capital Metro, Austin's public transit agency, is set to further increase its electric bus fleet after its board approved the purchase of six new vehicles Aug. 26.

The six electric buses will cost the transit agency a total of $8.26 million in the upcoming fiscal year, though that cost is partially funded by grants from both the state of Texas and the federal government.

Capital Metro is set to receive $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation via its Low or No Emission grant, as well as a $1.5 million grant award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“These are replacement buses in our fleet plan,” said Dottie Watkins, the vice president of Bus and Paratransit Services at Capital Metro.

This purchase brings the total number of Capital Metro’s new electric fleet up to 10 buses after four were purchased by the agency this spring. The transit agency’s board approved the purchases of all 10 buses in April, along with the renovation and construction of an electric bus facility located in North Austin.

Two of the new electric buses stretch 60 feet long—20 feet longer than the other four buses purchased by the board.

After an Earth Day press conference in April, Capital Metro approved a plan to purchase a combined 33 electric and clean diesel engine buses.

During an annual review of the agency's bus fleet, Watkins told the board that Capital Metro is set to retire its fleet of old diesel-fueled transit buses by 2020.

Capital Metro announced in early August it is in the process of rolling out 28 new MetroExpress buses that the agency states feature 90% cleaner emissions. The transit agency currently has a bus fleet of 423 vehicles, according to Capital Metro documents.

“There is no question the future of our industry is electric,” said Randy Clarke, the president and CEO of Capital Metro.
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By Iain Oldman

Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.


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