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All-electric ZeroBus fleet launches downtown

Zero emissions vehicles replace high polluting trolley buses

Mayor Greg Fischer joined TARC and other local officials today at the Louisville Slugger Museum to kick off the start of ZeroBus service in downtown Louisville. 

ZeroBus, TARC’s all-electric fleet, is now providing fare-free rides for passengers along  Main, Market and Fourth streets. The zero-emissions all-electric buses  replace diesel-powered trolleys, the highest polluting TARC vehicles.

“ZeroBus changes the game for public transportation in downtown and represents the type of progress and forward-thinking focus we are embracing to improve our city,” said Fischer, who joined TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker and others on a maiden ZeroBus trip.

“Louisville is the first city in this part of the country to have a fleet of all-electric buses in operation, putting us at the leading edge of high-technology, cleaner, greener transportation,” Barker said. “We encourage everyone to hop on a ZeroBus and stop along the way for some of the best Louisville has to offer in restaurants, museums and entertainment.”

The vehicles, with free wi-fi onboard, arrive at stops frequently - from every 10-18 minutes depending on the time of day - and offer a quiet ride. With expansive windows, an oval shape and a colorful blue and green design, they’re a distinctive addition to downtown.

”The city’s replica “Toonerville” trolleys have helped downtown’s revitalization over the years and all-electric buses can help take us to the next level,” Fischer said.

The all-electric system - 10 buses and two charging stations - is an $11 million investment, with the bulk of funding from federal and state grants.  Louisville Metro contributed $500,000.  

“This investment in new technologies is not just about improving public transportation in Louisville; it is also a down payment on ensuring healthier, cleaner air, and a more energy independent future,” said Congressman John Yarmuth.

The ZeroBus recharges in just a few minutes along the route while passengers load and unload at a charging stop. Each time a ZeroBus pulls up to a charging stop, it automatically connects to an overhead, high-capacity charger. Charging stops are on the south side of Market Street, between Eighth and Ninth streets, and on the west side of South Third Street, between York and Breckinridge streets. 

Since 2010, Proterra Inc., of Greenville, S.C., has produced 38 of these type of vehicles which are operating in eight other states, mostly on the east and west coasts.

“Proterra is honored to partner with Louisville Metro, TARC and the Federal Transit Administration on this innovative project,” said Ryan Popple, president and CEO of Proterra Inc.  “As an American technology company, and the U.S.  market leader in electric buses for public transit, we’re especially proud to see this newest fleet of Proterra vehicles providing high performance, zero-emission service in Louisville.  We are pleased that Proterra could share in your city’s vision to promote a sustainable, cost effective transit solution protecting the environment for generations to come. “

The five oldest trolley buses combined now emit a total of about 1,135 pounds of carbon monoxide in a year, compared to zero emissions from the all-electric buses. TARC will also save thousands of dollars each year in lower operating costs. In fuel costs alone, each electric bus will save TARC an estimated $10,000 per year.

Main-Market ZeroBuses circle between 10th and Campbell streets. On Fourth Street, the buses travel between Breckinridge Street and the Galt House, circling around Fourth Street Live! by taking Fifth Street northbound and Third Street southbound. South of Broadway the buses travel south on Third Street and north on Fourth Street. 

ZeroBuses operate on Fourth Street from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. and on Main-Market from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. on weekdays. Buses run on both routes from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The Main-Market route features red ZeroBus stop signs. Green bus stop signs are on the Fourth Street route.

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