marta 2Public transportation going electric in DeKalb

Some companies are making a more concentrated effort to protect the environment and MARTA has recently stepped up its efforts as well.

MARTA plans to “go green” with a pilot program debuting Proterra’s Catalyst electric bus. The bus was a loan to MARTA until mid-April and will be used to explore cleaner transportation options, according to MARTA officials.

MARTA General Manager/CEO Keith Parker said it’s important for the company to diversify its fleet of vehicles.

“From the double-decker bus to our most recent Catalyst electric bus, we are always looking for ways to diversify our fleet. With more MARTA initiatives paving the way for potential expansion projects, we want to ensure that the footprint our buses leave behind supports healthy, sustainable communities,” Parker said.

The Catalyst can fully recharge in less than 10 minutes, holds up to 40 passengers and can travel more than three hours on a single charge. MARTA also plans to have test routes with charging stations.

Parker said the electric buses are scheduled to debut in DeKalb and Fulton counties in April.

“The Catalyst electric bus is battery charged, and so the absence of an engine provides more space for riders without compromising size. These buses are also lightweight, which is ideal for roads whose conditions may not handle heavier vehicles,” Parker said. “As we look to secure MARTA as an innovative leader within the transit industry, the progression to electric, and even autonomous buses, is important in shifting the perception of public transportation as an environmentally beneficial infrastructure within our society.”

Currently, MARTA’s bus fleet includes diesel, hybrid and compressed natural gas vehicles, according to MARTA officials.

Proterra’s Regional Director of Sales Mike Hennessy said he is happy to partner with MARTA and said the bus can have a big impact on the local environment by reducing emissions. Hennessy said the Catalyst can also reduce noise pollution because the bus does not have a combustion engine.

“Our buses produce zero tailpipe emissions and eliminate the dependency on fossil fuels. Per bus, emissions are reduced by an astounding 146,400 pounds of C02 annually,” Hennessy said. “Each time a dirty diesel vehicle is replaced by a zero-emission EV bus, it has a positive effect on urban air quality. We’re pleased to work with MARTA on this demonstration project and look forward to continue helping the Atlanta community transition to next-generation vehicles that move people quietly and cleanly while helping meet the community’s climate goals.”


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