Sunday, May 31, 2020

Federal Grant to Fund Electric Buses for Cherriots

Here's some good news, a little old now, and you may already have seen it, but it's especially welcome this weekend.

Cherriots Board Chair - via Twitter
Keizer Times has a longer story. The Federal Transit Administration doesn't appear to have the announcement yet.

The Low or No Emission Vehicle Program has been around for a while, with the first round of grants announced in 2016. Cherriots may have submitted applications before.

Route 11 mainly on Lancaster Drive

The new buses will go to the Lancaster route.
The new buses will be used on Route 11 Lancaster Drive, which runs between Keizer and South Salem. This service corridor will be rebranded under the project as the “Electric Bus Corridor,” providing access to major employment, education, and health care destinations including the Mill Creek Business Park and Chemeketa Community College.
Route 11 is by far the most used route
Quarterly Performance Report in May Board packet
This is a striking bit of good news in the face of cratering ridership because of the Pandemic.

As a footnote, here's the cratering ridership
with the start of the Pandemic (only March is on the chart)
With the service expansion, it had been growing significantly
also from the Quarterly Performance Report
One thing to watch is that this is a Capital investment, and on-going funding for Operations is going to be a problem with the Pandemic. Hopefully the shiny new buses won't get stranded as Cherriots has to make adjustments to operating expenses. It's good they are going on the most popular route, which will be late with any reductions. This meets an Equity test, I think.

I am curious how the shift in engine fuel will "bolster service reliability." Is it just that they've been using old buses that broke down regularly? Or is there something else being planned here? It will be interesting to follow. Lancaster Drive would be a leading candidate for bus-only lanes whenever we get to that point.

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