In The News

City of Augusta launches electric bus preview, free transportation

Published by the Augusta Chronicle

Augusta will have a new, free, eco-friendly option for public transportation this week.

The public transit department is testing the Xcelsior CHARGE electric bus on its routes this week from Tuesday through Thursday. This is just a temporary preview as the city collects data in order to determine whether they should purchase this bus.

Mayor Hardie Davis, the Augusta Commission and other leaders checked out the bus Augusta Transit on Regency Boulevard on Monday.

“As a fuel, electricity is far cheaper than diesel or natural gas,” Davis said. “Given that buses utilize four times as much as the personal vehicle, those savings can, in fact, add up. Because EVs [electric vehicles] of all kinds are simpler and have fewer parts, maintenance costs also are lower.”

The 35-foot battery operated bus by New Flyer of America seats the same number of passengers as a normal Augusta Transit bus, according to the department’s deputy director Oliver Page. Some of the features of Xcelsior that differentiate it from an Augusta Transit bus include wider walking areas, Wi-Fi connectivity, USB chargers and the bus being quiter.

New Flyer manager Chris Dabbs said one exclusive feature is the SmartRider intelligent technology where the ramp for disabled passengers automatically senses and adjusts to irregularities of the curb with just the push of a button. Dabbs said their buses are personally built and extremely customizable, so several options for features and layouts are available for Augusta Transit.

The Xcelsior® is one of four buses the city is considering in competitive grant program with applications due next spring. Page said they are looking to increase ridership and looking for a bus that is attractive, efficient and safe.

“These are the qualities that will allow people, when they see a bus, saying ‘Well, I wanna ride that bus going to work. I wanna ride that bus going to the gym,’ ” Page said.

The bus will run on Route 3 for East Augusta on Tuesday, on Route 7 for the Augusta Mall on Wednesday and on Route 5 for Washington Road on Thursday. The Xcelsior® will replace an Augusta Transit bus, so the routes will run on regular scheduke. Exact times for the Xcelsior® bus will be released on Tuesday.

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