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July 21, 2015

Metro Takes an Electric Bus For A Test Drive in Forest Park

Metro transit is test driving an electric bus on the #3 Forest Park Trolley route through Sunday, July 26. Forest Park visitors will have an opportunity to ride the bus and experience this new technology as the MetroBus operations team evaluates how the refurbished Zero-Emission Propulsion System-powered electric bus from Complete Coach Works performs on the street.

“This is a great opportunity to take a closer look at this new technology and see how it operates on the road under changing environmental conditions like temperature variances and different passenger loads,” said Ray Friem, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “With a better understanding of its full capabilities, we can determine if electric bus technology is a good fit for our MetroBus fleet in the future and if it provides a good return on investment for both Metro and the region’s taxpayers.”

The refurbished 40-foot electric bus can travel between 130 to 150 miles on a single charge and can operate safely for about 16 hours, compared to about 500 miles on a full tank of fuel for the fleet’s diesel-powered MetroBus vehicles. The bus is powered by one 150 horsepower AC electric motor that will be recharged at Metro’s DeBaliviere MetroBus Facility each day. The battery takes about four hours to charge.

Both electric and diesel buses are built to last for up to 12 years or about 500,000 miles. However, with the efficiencies and diagnostic capabilities of Metro’s internationally recognized maintenance program, the agency is able to extend the operating lives of its buses to 15 years or between 750,000 to 825,000 miles.

This bus will be the third electric bus that Metro transit has test driven this year to take a closer look at the advancements, capabilities and benefits of electric bus technology. In April, Metro tested an electric bus manufactured by BYD Co., and last month, an electric bus from Proterra.

Metro is always exploring opportunities to improve efficiencies and maximize the return on investment by taxpayers, while minimizing environmental impact. The initial investment for an electric bus is about double the cost of a diesel-powered bus, but would result in significantly lower fuel, parts and labor expenses and less needed maintenance over the long term. Costs for building and maintaining charging infrastructure would also have to be considered. Purchasing refurbished electric buses can provide about $300,000 in savings per bus when compared to the price of a new electric bus.

About Bi-State Development Agency

The Bi-State Development Agency (BSDA) is the operator of the Metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; 379 MetroBus vehicle fleet that operates on 77 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 120 vans. BSDA also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and its surrounding industrial business park, and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch Transportation System. The region’s new freight district also will be operated by BSDA.

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