TARC Receiving Grant To Expand ZeroBus Fleet

February 5, 2015

TARC will add five more all-electric ZeroBus vehicles to the fleet thanks to a $3.3 million grant announced today in Louisville by Federal Transportation Administration officials.

At a news conference at Louisville Slugger Field, a stop on the Main-Market ZeroBus route, TARC was highlighted as one of ten transit agencies in the country to be awarded funding for low or no emission vehicles in a competitive grant selection process.

“As the nation’s population and transit ridership continue to rise, we must invest in innovative technologies that will help transit agencies like TARC expand their bus fleets and bring a new generation of energy-efficient buses to Louisville and cities and towns nationwide,” said FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers.

Louisville’s 10 ZeroBus vehicles began operating on downtown circulator routes on Jan. 12 in place of diesel-fueled trolleys, providing free rides and Wi-Fi onboard.  The service operates Monday-Saturday, arriving at stops every 10-18 minutes along Main, Market and Fourth street corridors.

“Passengers have told us they love the ZeroBus and they can take it all around downtown to some of our city’s most popular destinations.  By expanding the ZeroBus fleet, more passengers can enjoy the quiet ride and everyone benefits from the zero emissions and cleaner air,” said TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker.

“The ZeroBus has operated only 22 days and that’s already resulted in a reduction of nearly 2,000 pounds of harmful emissions into the air downtown, compared to emissions we would have had with the trolleys that were replaced,” Barker said.

“The FTA’s announcement provides even more people the opportunity to experience world class and cutting-edge public transportation,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. ”Whether it’s getting from one tourist attraction to another or catching a free ride on a rainy day to one of our local culinary hot spots, these buses provide a great service and the cleaner, greener transportation helps our city meet its sustainability goals.”

“This important funding will help TARC continue to make advances in offering energy-efficient and environmentally friendly public transportation options in our city,” said U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.  “This investment will help make our air cleaner and our environment safer, while providing reliable transit service for more Louisville families.”

TARC requested the $3.3 million grant from the FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicles Deployment Program (LoNo), as part of a $5.9 million expansion of ZeroBus service and related upgrades.  TARC will use $1.6 million from its annual federal funding and $917,750 in local funding to complete the project, under the plan.

Demand for the grant program funding far exceeded the $55 million available, with 50 project proposals requesting a total of $200 million.

In addition to the five ZeroBus vehicles, the grant includes funding for a third on-route charging station and initial development of a solar-paneled roof on TARC’s 200,000 square foot bus storage building behind Union Station.

“We envision having a diesel-free downtown and generating enough power through solar panels on our roof to significantly save on energy use and costs,” Barker said.

TARC will work with Proterra Inc., based in Greenville S.C., which manufactured  the ZeroBus vehicles, on specifications for the five new electric buses which are expected to arrive in 2016.

ZeroBuses operate on the Fourth Street circulator route 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. They will also be in service on the Republic Bank First Friday Hop, beginning with the Hop on Friday, Feb. 6, from 5-11 p.m.

For more information on ZeroBus, visit www.ridetarc.org.