Three fully electric buses are expected to be operational within the next 18 to 24 months, officials say. The new buses are not meant to replace existing vehicles and they will serve specific routes.
(TNS) — More than $3.1 million in state funding is coming to Merced County for the purchase of three new electric buses, Merced County Association of Governments announced Thursday, one day after Earth Day.
The buses are expected to be ready for operation within 18 to 24 months. The additions to The Bus fleet and are an expansion of service rather than a replacement of buses scheduled for retirement, according to a news release.
The Bus is the only public transportation service provider in the Merced County. It is administered by the Transit Joint Powers Authority and managed by MCAG.
“The addition of these vehicles to The Bus’ fleet is not only important because of what they mean to the collective efforts aimed at improving air quality in our region, but also because they will allow us to expand service in communities who don’t have the access to transportation they need,” said Stacie Guzman, MCAG’s executive director.
Two of the electric buses will increase service frequency on routes between Merced and the communities of Planada and Le Grand. The third bus will serve Merced’s residential areas north of Merced College.
These areas were identified as having unmet transit needs by the Social Services Transportation Advisory Council in 2019, the release said.
The group consists of individuals who depend on transit, as well as representatives from social services agencies and the transportation industry. They assess regional transit systems annually and make recommendations.
The full award announcement can be found on the California State Transportation Agency website. In total, the complete grant funding equates to the addition of nine electric buses that will go into service throughout the county.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Bus has temporarily suspended all fares. Passengers are asked to only use The Bus to provide or receive essential services, and should wear a mask on board while complying with social distancing measures.
Schedules and hours of operation can be found at www.mercedthebus.com or by calling (209) 723-3100. Real-time bus locations, services and arrival times are at www.thebuslive.com and on The Bus Live app.
©2020 the Merced Sun-Star (Merced, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.