Metro Takes an Electric Bus for a Test Drive in Downtown St. Louis
Metro transit is test driving an electric bus on the #99 Downtown Trolley route through Tuesday, April 11. Commuters traveling through downtown St. Louis will have an opportunity to ride the bus as the MetroBus operations team evaluates how the 42-foot all-electric bus from Proterra performs on the street.
“Electric motor technology is making considerable gains year after year, and these tests give us an opportunity to take a close look at the advancements they have made,” said Ray Friem, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “It’s our responsibility to ensure this new technology produces the performance and efficiencies that will make it both a good fit for our MetroBus fleet in the future and a good investment for Metro and the region’s taxpayers.”
The 42-foot all-electric bus has a magnetic drive motor and can operate on a single charge for about 250 miles. The battery, which can store about 440 kilowatts of electricity, takes a little less than four hours to fully recharge. The testing will allow Metro to see how it operates under different passenger loads and in changing traffic and environmental conditions.
For an electric bus to be a candidate for the MetroBus fleet, it will need to produce the same performance as current clean-diesel MetroBus vehicles, which average about 200 miles a day. The electric bus must also meet the vehicle standards set by Metro’s internationally recognized maintenance program, which leads the transit industry in several reliability, efficiency and maintenance metrics, including extending the lifespan of its buses to 15 years and more than 750,000 miles, beyond industry standards of 12 years and 500,000 miles.
Metro is always exploring opportunities to improve MetroBus performance, while also maximizing the return on investment by taxpayers. In addition to being environmentally friendly, electric buses have the potential to reduce costs for fuel, parts and labor, and they typically require less needed maintenance over their lifespans when compared to diesel-powered buses.
Metro is the operator of the St. Louis region’s public transportation system, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; approximately 400 vehicle MetroBus fleet that operates on 79 MetroBus routes in Missouri and Illinois; and Metro Call‑A‑Ride, a paratransit fleet of 122 vans. Metro is an enterprise of Bi-State Development (BSD), which also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport, the Bi-State Development Research Institute, the Gateway Arch Riverboats, and operates the Gateway Arch Trams and Revenue Collections Center. BSD also operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway.