EMBARK has received a $6.8 million federal grant through the Federal Transit Administration to purchase additional compressed natural gas and electric buses and vans. In 2016, the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority adopted an initiative to have a 100% alternative fuel fleet by 2025.
EMBARK’s community engagement officer Cody Boyd said the funds would be used to purchase 25 vehicles: one electric bus and a combination of CNG vans and buses. Currently, the fleet comprises 73 buses, of which half already use alternative fuel. The new electric bus will be the city’s second; the first was purchased in 2020 and went into operation in 2021.
The grant money comes at a good time, as EMBARK has started the process of constructing raised platforms along Classen and NW Expressway for the new RAPID transit system that features a separate line of buses. (A subject we cover at length in our upcoming October/November issue.)
“This is the largest competitive grant for bus replacement EMBARK has received,” said EMBARK administrator Jason Ferbrache. “Being awarded this competitive grant for fleet needs provides flexibility to use existing resources for other capital investment within the system.”
The northwest spur of the RAPID system is largely funded by another federal grant, which includes money for the new buses. Each of the new style buses costs approximately $600,000, and includes seating/standing room for 40 people, Wi-Fi, chargers and a more comfortable, streamlined cabin. EMBARK has already ordered nine RAPID buses for a total expenditure of $5.4 million. The new buses are CNG powered and are designed to pull up to raised platforms, obviating the need for a ramp system for customers who use wheelchairs.
Photo by Steve Morgan/Creative Commons.