This story initially aired on WUFT-FM:
The Gainesville City Commission approved the purchase of a zero-emission RTS bus costing more than $1 million. RTS already has a million-dollar federal grant to pay for majority of the bus’s cost. City Commissioner Helen Warren said that the remaining cost of around $32,000 has been budgeted by the commission. Warren believes this is a small price to pay for the large steps being taken.
“This is just an important step to look at how we can reduce our carbon footprint. And it is just one of many things that we can do,” Warren said.
The fare to ride these zero-emission buses will be the same as the current rate to ride the RTS fuel buses. Warren said the battery-operated buses are easier to run.
Warren explained, “Their maintenance is actually less than many of the other vehicles that you have. The gas-powered vehicles are a lot more maintenance burdened.”
Lee Feldman, City Manager, said there will be a plan put in place for the safest disposal of the bus’s batteries. Feldman said that the city has to start somewhere.
“This will be actually the third vehicle to hit our fleet that will be zero-emission. There’s about an 18-month leeway or lead time in getting these things here.” Feldman said.
One bus at a time is how Feldman explained the city is working toward a greener future.