It’s looking more and more like the days of smelly diesel buses in Jacksonville are numbered.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The money will go toward initiating an electric bus program that will have charging stations which will utilize a solar power program, allowing the buses to be truly emissions-free, according to JTA.
“This federal investment will not only strengthen our world-class transit system but also improve air quality and lower fuel costs. I commend JTA for its commitment to serving the citizens of Northeast Florida and look forward to seeing their new battery electric buses on the road,” said area Congressman John Rutherford.
The JTA has been moving toward a fleet with a smaller carbon footprint, incorporating Hybrid and Compressed Natural Gas buses.
The initial electric service will support shuttle service to the new Amazon Fulfillment Center Warehouse on Pecan Park Road.
Solar-powered charging stations will be installed at the new Armsdale Park-n-Ride lot and at the Myrtle Avenue Campus for vehicle maintenance and service.
“JTA is committed to capturing the promise of new and emerging technology that enhances the performance and sustainability of our fleet,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.
The transit agency is also looking to replace and expand its aging Skyway monorail system with what would ultimately be a larger system of autonomous electric vehicles.
Electric buses are starting to catch on across the U.S. Proterra, a manufacturer of electric buses has customers in more than a dozen states that include California, Delaware, Florida and Washington.
No vendor or specific model has been announced for the Jacksonville project yet.
“This is great news for the City of Jacksonville,” said area Congressman Al Lawson.