Columbia to receive eight new electric buses


Nikol Slatinska

Columbia is awaiting the delivery of eight new electric buses this month after seeing large financial and environmental improvements since using one on transit routes last year.
The transit division of the city performed a demonstration of an electric bus on its routes for three weeks during the summer of 2015 and was impressed with its efficiency. Drew Brooks, the city transit and parking manager, said the division recommended the bus to the city manager and city council, who decided to add permanent electric buses into the city.
“The current bus in our fleet has been in operation since November of 2015. The performance of the vehicle has been excellent, and we have realized the expected savings in maintenance and energy costs,” Brooks said. “Overall, we have received positive reception of the bus. Our customers appreciate that the bus is much quieter than internal combustion engines and that there are no emissions from the vehicle. This is especially noticeable in neighborhoods and near education centers.”
CoMO Connect marketing specialist Shay Jasper explained that one of city organizers’ top priorities is to help the community promote the health, safety and well-being of its citizens. Because electric buses have low emission levels, Columbia Public Works has a goal to make 50 percent of the city’s bus fleet electric by 2019.
Not only are electric buses eco-friendly, but Jasper said they are also an economically sound decision.
“So far, we have experienced a 70 percent [decrease] on maintenance costs and a 50 percent [decrease] on energy costs,” Jasper said. “Those money savings will allow us to expand our electric fleet in the future.”
Increasing the number of electric buses sounds highly appealing to sophomore Julia Koldobskiy, finds electric vehicles extremely interesting. She believes any bus or car that’s going to be on the road all day should be electric, as it would greatly minimize emissions.
“It’s cool that we’re getting electric buses. I think it’s great when people decide to switch to electric cars or do anything to help slow global warming,” Koldobskiy said. “I think mail trucks and buses should be hybrids or electric vehicles because they make frequent stops and do lots of idling.”
Although the city transit division is making big changes, it hasn’t quite gotten as far as installing electric mail trucks yet. Jasper said the eight new buses are expected to be delivered by spring of 2017, and the transit division’s goal is to have 12 new buses by November of next year.
“Overall, the community has been very welcoming to the new buses,” Jasper said. “We are very excited to be the first city in Missouri to have [an electric bus].”