Spokane Transit Authority E-Bus TrialPosted: March 5, 2014
As Ben Franklin Transit and Link Transit both continue to work through issues with their respective E-Bus projects, Spokane Transit Authority is also jumping on board with the potential future of transit by conducting a 30-day trial with an E-Bus built by BYD Motors.
Scheduled to begin today, the E-Bus will be running trial service on several different routes serving the Northside area of Spokane. Below is the schedule of where and when the bus will be scheduled to run (subject to change):
Routes 24/28 5:28AM – 2:07PM
Route 25 10:42AM-7:00PM
Routes 22/27 5:39AM-2:20PM
Routes 24/26/28 1:37PM-10:13PM
BYD Motors has had a bit of a rough go at it as they try to work their way into the North American transit market. Currently, the FTA is deciding whether or not to block the use of federal funds in a contract between BYD Motors and Long Beach Transit (CA). They’ve also had problems as they try to get a bus to pass inspection at the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center. That said, apart from current head of the E-Bus market, Proterra, BYD Motors seems to have the best product on the market (and that’s coming from someone who’s a huge supporter of Complete Coach Works, another competitor). It’s not immediately clear if this is a WSDOT sponsored test, or if STA is going at this on their own. That said, I commend STA for being smart about this. Rather than making a huge commitment beforehand, they’re giving the technology a small test in the real world first. This continues their trend of smart, thought out decisions on transit technology (such as their decision to pass on CNG fuel based in part on the detrimental effect on the environment).
As noted above, the testing will continue through the end of the month. I’m sure that local media in Spokane will do a good job of getting more coverage on this E-bus trial, but you can also expect to see more coverage here on Transit 509 when I visit Spokane later this month and check out the E-Bus myself. (For more immediate updates, you can follow @transit509 on Twitter.)