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MARTA receives $2.6 million federal grant to electrify bus fleet

Decatur Metro ATL

MARTA receives $2.6 million federal grant to electrify bus fleet

A MARTA bus at the Decatur, GA MARTA station. File Photo by: Dan Whisenhunt
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This week, MARTA was awarded a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to electrify their bus fleet, according to a MARTA press release.

The grant, called the Low-No grant, will be used to purchase six zero-emission battery electric buses to replace six diesel models. Removing the 2005 diesel versions from the fleet will reduce MARTA’s emissions by 935 short tons of greenhouse gases and reduce energy consumption by 14.3 terajoules, MARTA said.

Additionally, the energy saved by the deployment of the zero-emissions buses is equivalent to nearly 250 years of gas for the average American car driver. Zero-emissions vehicles also prevent the release of fine particulate matter – atmospheric pollutants suspended in the air in the form of minute solid particles or liquid droplets that can be hazardous to health and the environment.

“Receiving the Low-No grant will help MARTA put technologically advanced buses with low-to-no emission in densely populated areas with high ridership routes,” MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker said. “This welcomed first step toward making our bus fleet environmentally friendly will have community-wide impact.”

According to MARTA, the new fleet will be made up of heavy-duty transit Xcelsior buses, which are 40 feet in length and have a passenger capacity of 38 standing and 38 seated. The fleet will be supported by fast conductive charging at the East Lake station, heavy duty plug-in depot chargers at the Laredo Operating Facility and a heavy duty deport charger at the Browns Mills Bus Maintenance Facility to support the buses during heavy maintenance and repair events. On-route charging will allow the buses to operate throughout the day without returning to the bus depot.

The new buses, expected to be deployed by July 2021, will run on Routes 2 (Ponce de Leon/East Lake) and 102 (Ponce de Leon/Little Five Points). The routes share a common western terminus at North Avenue Station.

On the eastern end, Route 2 is anchored at East Lake Station while Route 102 terminates at Candler Park/Edgewood Station. Destinations along the routes include Ponce City Market, the Fernbank Museum and a variety of retail and grocery destinations.

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