New, alternative-fuel buses are projected to save the Jacksonville Transportation Authority nearly $6 million over the next 15 years.
JTA is welcoming 23 new buses that run on compressed natural gas instead of diesel. New buses also means new, faster routes.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who represents parts of Jacksonville, explored one of the new fuel-efficient buses downtown, Monday.
“Oh I’m very excited,” Brown said. “Transportation, moving people, goods and services, that’s what I love.”
JTA Board Chairman Scott McCaleb says Brown is responsible for federal dollars helping to fund the additional buses.
“When you need something in transportation, you go see her and she can get it done,” McCaleb said.
Over the next five years, 100 of these buses will be added to the JTA fleet, or replace old ones.
Twenty-three should arrive by the end of November.
The buses use natural gas, and will be the first public buses in Jacksonville to offer Wi-Fi.
Mayor Lenny Curry is welcoming the switch. He investing in better transportation options is investing a better, more prosperous community.
“Businesses want to know their employees can get to work quickly, safely and easily and people want to be able to get transported with fewer hassles,” Curry said.
JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford says 11 of the new buses will be part of a rapid transit service called First Coast Flyer. Buses will arrive at flyer stops every 10 minutes during peak hours.
“Those stations will have bike racks, will have LED lighting as well as real-time passenger information,” Ford said. “So [at] every one of those bus stops, you’ll be able to know when the next bus is arriving.”
Ford was one of 11 transportation officials the White House recognized last week for his bus route improvements.
Phase 1 of the Flyer service, on Jacksonville’s Northside, is set to begin in December.