Advance Transit (AT) riders can now step aboard all electric buses as they travel in the Upper Valley. The new electric buses started their routes on March 13, 2023, offering passengers a quieter ride with reduced emissions. These buses are the first set in a series of planned changes for AT, with more electric vehicles slated to arrive by next year. Funded primarily by federally administered grants and financial incentives from Green Mountain Power (GMP), this initiative to replace existing buses with reduced emissions buses will help decrease local air pollution and improve public transit infrastructure.
This initiative has been in motion since 2019. At that time, AT was awarded grant funding from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) through support from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Some key objectives were to expand the benefits of vehicles into rural communities, help eliminate carbon emissions, and combat climate change. Transportation using fossil fuel is the top source of carbon emissions nationwide and in Vermont. Working in partnership with GMP, AT aims to reduce these numbers for the Upper Valley region through the implementation of electric buses.
Ross MacDonald, VTrans Public Transit Manager, commented, “The state has challenging climate goals, and we will need all of our partners to electrify their respective services as quickly as practical. The Public Transit Program recognizes AT as a leader in transit services and operations, and these e-buses are an extension of the dedication and commitment to provide more affordable, reliable, and cleaner mobility options to their communities.”
Rider feedback has been positive. Some have noted a much quieter ride and bus operators have noticed a smoother driving experience. AT’s e-bus drivers have completed extensive training sessions and the organization is now utilizing new fleet monitoring software provided by ChargePoint, which can track enhanced service metrics.
AT is also in the process of building an electric charging infrastructure that is slated to finish in the fall of 2023. GMP’s incentives also helped with the installation of a Level 3 fast charger. This project is the most significant facility upgrade since AT’s building expansion in 2009. This addition to the operations center will accommodate the current electric vehicles, as well as future ones, laying the groundwork for further e-bus acquisitions and supporting long-term goals for more sustainable business practices.
“It is exciting to see more Vermont communities served by clean electric buses. Driving with fossil fuel is the number one source of carbon emissions in Vermont – so cleaning up the transportation sector makes a big difference for our state. Plus, all GMP incentives and programs are designed to help reduce costs so all GMP customers can benefit,” said Tiana Smith, who leads electrification programs at GMP.
Advance Transit has long-regarded sustainability and environmental stewardship as key parts of the organization’s mission. AT began incorporating hybrid buses into its fleet in 2011 and currently uses electric cars as driver relief vehicles for buses in service. It has implemented systems that both reduce operating costs and produce real environmental benefits. For example, AT actively harvests rainwater that is used to wash buses. AT’s LEED-certified facility also features a solar array and a system for recycling used motor oil into a heat source.
The organization’s commitment to sustainability and service is evident in the message displayed on the rear window of their electric buses: “Electric-powered. Community-driven.” Providing free public transit services to the Upper Valley, AT is dedicated to increasing access and effectively meeting the region’s transportation and mobility needs.
“This is only the beginning,” shared AT Executive Director Adams Carroll. “We’re excited about the impact that electric buses will have on the community and the overall effects on the environment. We look forward to growing the number of electric vehicles in our fleet over time.”
For more information, contact Trish Palao, Director of Marketing and Philanthropy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 295-1824.
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Advance Transit (AT) is a not-for-profit charitable organization providing fare-free transit in Vermont and New Hampshire. Our mission is to assure the continued livability and accessibility of Upper Valley communities by providing safe, effective, and friendly public transportation services.