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Pullman Transit to become more sustainable

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Published by The Daily Evergreen

Pullman Transit received two electric buses on June 30, helping to cut costs and be more sustainable.

Extensive research was done regarding the vehicles’ cost, projected maintenance and the efficiency of electric versus diesel buses, said Pullman Transit Manager Wayne Thompson. Using information from Wenatchee Link Transit, Wayne estimates each electric bus will cost around $4,000 a year to charge.

The yearly cost to fuel a diesel bus is around $20,000, Thompson said. The electric buses can travel more than 150 miles on a full charge, he said. The longest route in Pullman is the Loop Route, which travels around 147 miles each day.

Pullman City Council allowed Pullman Transit to move forward with purchasing the electric buses in 2018, Thompson said. The federal Buses and Bus Facilities grant program covered 80 percent of each of the $872,000 electric buses. Both buses were purchased 16 months ago, replacing two diesel buses from the 1990s.

The remaining cost was covered using local funds collected from fares and utility tax, said Brad Rader, Pullman Transit operations supervisor.

“Without the grant, we wouldn’t have been in a position to place an order like this,” Thompson said. “We rely on federal and state grants for most of our large capital projects.”

The electric buses are about 35 feet long and have around 30 seats, which does not include the number of people who use the bus standing, said Otto Nielson, Pullman Transit bus washer. Buses can hold around 50 or more people.

Pullman Transit purchases each bus from GILLIG, a company based in California, Nielson said. Purchasing the buses from the same company helps maintain consistency when performing maintenance.

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