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Economy & Business

Metro Transit Launches Fleet Of Electric Buses In St. Louis

An electric bus pulls into its charging station on Broadway Street and Taylor Avenue.
Kendall Crawford
/
St. Louis Public Radio
A Metro Transit 60-foot battery electric bus pulls into its charging station at Broadway Street and Taylor Avenue.

One of the nation’s largest deployments of electric buses has arrived in St. Louis.

Metro Transit launched a fleet of 18 electric battery-powered buses on Tuesday. The zero-emission vehicles will be running on the No. 70 Grand MetroBus route, spanning from north to south of the city.

“It signals a positive change for our region,” said Rose Windmiller, the chairwoman of the Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners, at the launch ceremony.

Transit and city officials gathered to watch the buses embark on their first routes, many touting it as an environmental win for the St. Louis region.

“This initial group of 18 battery electric buses is the first step in moving in the right direction as we work together to build a healthier city, as well as a healthier region and better transit experiences for residents, businesses and visitors,” Mayor Tishaura Jones said.

The fleet consists of 14 buses 60 feet in length and four smaller vehicles, each about 40 feet long. In addition to being environmentally friendly, transit officials say the vehicles will offer bus riders a smoother and quieter experience.

“If you’ve never ridden an electric bus before, get ready St. Louis, because you’re in for a real treat,” said Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development CEO and president.

Despite their size, the new buses take only a little over an hour to charge to full capacity. The vehicles will pause to charge at the in-route charging station at Broadway Street and Taylor Avenue. Overnight, the buses will charge at the Brentwood MetroBus facility powered by Ameren Missouri.

“We’re excited because these buses are better for the environment, and for Metro they’re going to be cheaper to operate,” said Ameren Missouri President Marty Lyons.

Each large bus cost $1.33 million, but transit officials say the investment will save money in the long run. They estimate the operating costs to be significantly lower than that of diesel, at 59 cents per mile.

Metro Transit also estimates the buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 to 160 tons per year in the city — a feat city officials say could change the community for the better.

“Zero emissions. I like the sound of that,” said St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. “It’s a commitment by Metro Transit to do all they can to help and improve our nation, our country and our region’s health and our future.”

Follow Kendall on Twitter: @kcrawfish33

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