Submitted by: Whatcom Transportation Authority

You may find yourself standing at your bus stop, just as you always do. As the bus approaches, you recognize the driver, but the bus itself has a different look. Why? Your regular ride has been replaced by an all-electric bus.

The electric bus is the wave of the future. Photo courtesy: WTA.

Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) is leasing an all-electric bus for the months of August through December, 2018. The bus, a 42-foot Catalyst E2, is made by Proterra, a manufacturer based in Burlingame, CA. The five-month bus lease will allow WTA to gauge the vehicle’s performance on our local terrain during summer, fall and winter weather. It will also give WTA’s mechanics, who work primarily on gasoline, diesel and diesel-electric vehicles, an opportunity to learn the maintenance routines of an electric bus.

WTA General Manager Pete Stark said, “Protecting and preserving our environment is one of our strategic goals, and reducing our net carbon output is a major focus. We continue to explore new technologies in vehicles and fuel. The opportunity to test an electric bus, on our own turf, is extremely useful in evaluating whether this technology is a good fit for our community.”

Compared to a standard diesel bus, one electric bus would reduce WTA’s carbon dioxide emissions by 1,100 tons over its 12-year service life. It would also reduce fuel use by 100,000 gallons, reduce particulate matter emissions by 30 pounds and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 674 pounds.

The electric bus can be identified by its distinctive green and blue non-WTA graphics, as well as signage on each side, declaring “WTA is test-driving this all-electric bus.” Now through September 2018, riders are most likely to catch the electric bus on Routes 14, 15, 24 on weekdays and Routes 1, 3 and 27 on Saturdays.

WTA would love to hear comments from riders who’ve had a chance to ride it. Please email them to comment@ridewta.com.

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