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TARTA board approves order for 11 GILLIG Battery Electric buses

Updated: May 22

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The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) board of trustees approved the agency’s first full-size electric vehicles in the form of eleven 35-foot buses from Gillig. The vehicles will be delivered by late 2025. The chargers and related infrastructure should be ready for use before the buses’ delivery. 

Chargepoint, Inc., and local engineering consultant SSOE are both working on developing TARTA’s maintenance facility. Toledo Edison has approved the installation of up to eight chargers at the main garage on Central Avenue using its existing electricity feed.

The buses and their charging stations will be paid for with a package of state and federal grants that includes $9 million in federal funds announced nearly 11 months ago. The buses will have 29 full-time seats plus three more that will be convertible to two wheelchair positions. TARTA accepted a Gillig proposal to use in its vehicles some batteries that were left over from a canceled order, so that should help move delivery toward the early part of the lead-time window — but it still may take about 18 months.

TARTA has an aging bus fleet from its days of not being able to fully fund capital needs. The transit authority also has 10 conventional diesel buses on order that it expects to receive late this year as it seeks to replace the oldest vehicles. Once it has a reliable source of hydrogen fuel, TARTA plans to acquire some fuel-cell buses to see first-hand how well those might suit its future needs. The transit authority has a goal of being zero-emissions by 2037. Propane options for heavy transit vehicles are very limited and not something TARTA is considering.

Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service has three electric vehicles — albeit smaller ones — in service, and the reviews from drivers have been positive.

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