Capital Metro to buy new electric, diesel buses

Capital Metro will buy up to 10 electric buses from  Proterra Inc.

Capital Metro will buy up to 10 electric buses from Proterra Inc.

Public transit riders in the Austin area may soon find themselves on brand-new buses.

Capital Metro’s board of directors approved the purchase of up to 29 clean diesel buses and up to 10 battery-powered electric buses at a meeting April 22.

“[Electric] is the movement in transit, and there’s no getting around it,” Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke said.

Dottie Watkins, vice president of bus and paratransit services for Capital Metro, said the transit agency originally intended to buy electric buses in fiscal year 2021-22, but it identified the opportunity to get a small number of those buses earlier.

Watkins said 33 buses must be replaced by the next fiscal year, so Capital Metro will do so with a combination of electric and diesel buses.

She said if the agency is awarded grants it applied for, then it will purchase 10 electric buses and 23 diesel buses. If Capital Metro does not receive the grants, it will purchase 4 electric buses and 29 diesel buses, either way totaling the required 33 buses.

The cost of the diesel buses will not exceed $25.54 million, while the electric vehicles will not exceed $11.12 million, according to meeting documents. The diesel buses will be bought from Gillig LLC, and the electric ones from Proterra Inc., according to the documents.

“You all did amazing work to get this done, and to be able to announce it on Earth Day is really special,” said Ann Kitchen, who serves on the Capital Metro board of directors and Austin City Council.

Earlier in the day, Capital Metro unveiled plans to build a facility for its new electric buses on McNeil Road in Austin.
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