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City of Pullman adds 3rd fully electric bus to fleet

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The City of Pullman now has three 35-foot fully electric GILLIG coach busses operating in Pullman.

This is the third since July 2021.

Once its road-ready, about 40% of the fleet will consist of either fully electric or hybrid-electric buses, officials said in a press release on Monday.

According to city officials, electric buses come with a high price tag, but state and federal programs help cover the bulk of the cost. In October 2021, the City Council approved the acceptance of a Federal Transit Administration grant that paid about 80% of the total cost of the new bus, or $714,839.

“This is another milestone upgrade to our fleet that’s exciting and necessary to help us maintain quality of service while simultaneously reducing operating costs,” said Wayne Thompson, manager of Pullman Transit. “We’ll continue to look at state and federal funding opportunities with the goal of gradually replacing more of our diesel fleet.”

To achieve road readiness, the new bus will undergo some routine prep work like installation of a farebox, internal radio, and a new vinyl wrap. The bus is expected to hit the road sometime after the New Year.

A grant application was submitted to the Washington State Department of Transportation in early October, setting wheels in motion for two more electric buses to be added to the fleet.

As part of its six-year transit development plan, Pullman Transit intends to research and consider ways of adopting more electric transportation equipment. Electric buses offer attractive traits—they’re quieter, cost less to maintain, and produce zero emissions compared to their diesel counterparts. The annual cost to charge a fully electric bus is estimated at $4,000 in contrast to the more than $20,000 needed to fuel one diesel bus for a year.

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