Four state-of-the-art electric shuttle buses have officially entered service in Burbank, California, launching an innovative, clean transit "commuter connection" between Metrolink commuter trains and the city’s booming Media District.
The 26-foot transit buses, powered by clean, quiet electric motors, now make regular circuits along Olive Avenue, adding both to the quality of life of the city and encouraging more riders to take clean, flexible transit into the city. The project was made possible through a partnership of Burbank, the California Energy Commission, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, CALSTART – the California-based advanced transportation consortium – and bus builder APS Systems.
"We are overjoyed with the buses and the new service they provide," said Mark Yamarone, transportation planner for the city of Burbank. "Our goal is to provide new, flexible options to Burbank citizens and workers so they can easily – and pleasantly – move about our city. These buses are clean, quiet, comfortable, flexible and fun. They exactly fit our needs and our goals."
Produced by CALSTART participating company APS Systems of Oxnard, California, the buses represent a new class of transit being carefully eyed nationwide. The 26-foot, 26-passenger buses are designed for nimble, urban shuttle service, not for long-haul routes. Ideally sized for city streets and speeds, the electric shuttles fill a gap in the transportation system by providing custom connections between shopping, work and transit locations.
In addition, the shuttles provide emission-free, near-silent service along city streets: increasingly critical considerations with growing concerns over the pollution and health impacts of diesel-powered vehicles. Both the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are studying the health dangers of diesel.
"These buses not only operate on a cleaner, more efficient drive technology, they represent a whole new paradigm in transit: flexibility," said Michael J. Gage, CALSTART’s president and CEO. "Transit providers worldwide are looking at innovative ways of linking rail, heavy buses and the locations where people actually work and live. Clean and flexible shuttles provide a piece of the solution, and we think the market potential of this class of attractive bus will only be growing."
Fifteen of the buses are now in service: four in Burbank; five in Santa Barbara; three in Santa Monica; and three at the Grand Canyon National Park. The buses – using a 68-kilowatt electric motor powered by a nickel-cadmium battery pack – provide superior acceleration and performance to diesel buses and can achieve a range of more than 100-miles in city driving before needing to recharge. Top speed is 45 miles per hour.
The buses operate in a six-mile loop between the Burbank Regional Intermodal Transportation Center (RITC) and the Media District, driving along Olive Avenue. Hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the afternoon and evening. Burbank is interested in adding two additional buses to its service. Together with its current fleet – and the 10 electric passenger vehicles the city is committed to purchase – Burbank is becoming an acknowledged clean transportation leader.
CALSTART is a non-profit advanced transportation technologies organization working with more than 200 industry and public partners worldwide. It develops technology demonstration programs, provides industry analysis and information and helps fleets more quickly introduce electric vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, as well as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
Written by: Calstart
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