October 19, 2020

Macon Transit Authority gets new electric buses

Macon Transit Authority gets new electric buses

MTA CEO and President Craig Ross says the new buses should be on the road by mid-November

MACON, Ga. — You’ll soon see bright blue buses around Macon. 

The Macon-Bibb Transit Authority will roll out two new electric buses named Sparky and Bolt. 

“There’s no fuel — all batteries, all electric — no emissions in this at all,” said Craig Ross, Macon Transit Authority CEO and President. 

Ross says the transit authority is working to do their part to reduce pollution.

“That’ll start making an impact on us, but there’s still fossil fuel cars running around,” Ross said. 

We got one of the first rides on the bus. The first thing to notice is it’s pretty quiet compared to a typical bus.

“A lot of people were asking me, was it running. I said, ‘Yeah, it’s already on,'” said bus driver Vernon Franklin, talking about the reaction he got from people who saw the new buses for the first time.

“You can actually have a conversation inside the bus. It’s hard to have one in a diesel,” Ross said. 

Since it’s electric, there’s absolutely no fuel needed. Ross says it is powered by battery pods and a fully charged bus can run 215 miles before recharging. 

We took a ride around town in the new bus. Soon they’ll be on their normal routes. One will stay on the downtown corridor route–going to Navicent, down Second Street, and onto Coliseum Medical. Ross says the other will rotate routes.

These will be the only electric buses on the roads around here. 

Ross says Macon Transit Authority is the only transit system in the state with them, and it’s all possible because of a $1.75 million grant from the Federal Transportation Administration.

“Macon-Bibb is a small transit system,” Ross said. For us to compete on a national stage with only a $55 million grant available for over 5,000 transit systems. For Macon to be able to win one of the top six amounts of money — $1.75 million — we were elated to say the least.”

Each bus costs $737,525. Ross says it’s about $300,000 than what they would pay for one of the buses they have now. 

Ross says these buses will be hitting the road sometime around mid-November.

Ross says this is only the beginning of their environmentally-conscious fleet. They’re working to get more electric buses in the future.

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