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Greenville celebrates addition of first electric buses

The Greenville community celebrated the addition of two new 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 buses to the county’s public transportation fleet with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Greenlink transit center in downtown Greenville on Friday. The two new buses are Greenlink’s first electric buses.

Those who missed the ribbon-cutting ceremony can see the new buses at the Greenlink + Proterra exhibit at the iMAGINE Upstate Festival to be held on Saturday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Greenville.

Those attending the ribbon-cutting celebration included members of the Greenville Transit Authority board, former U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, S.C. Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, DHEC Bureau of Air Quality Assistant Chief Keith Frost, Greenville County Council Chair Butch Kirven, Greenville Mayor Knox White and Proterra President/CEO Ryan Popple. Also attending were several members of the Greenville County Legislative Delegation and employees from Proterra’s Greenville manufacturing facility where the buses were made.

Greenville Transit Authority (GTA) was able to purchase the new buses with a 2017 Federal Transit Administration grant of $1.45 million awarded through FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Program. The program funds the development of transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced fuel technologies. GTA used the grant award to purchase the two zero-emission, battery-electric buses and charging equipment from Proterra.

This initial purchase was matched by an appropriation from the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control and local contributions from Hughes Development Corporation and Human Technologies, Inc. The original order was then expanded to include two more Catalyst E2 buses, with a $1 million capital infusion appropriated by the City of Greenville and leveraged with existing federal appropriations.

Greenville Transit Authority received 57 letters of support for the 2017 Low-No grant application and according to Gary Shepard, Greenlink’s public transportation director, the introduction of new bus technology would not be possible without the support of the Greenville community.

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“The public is excited to see Greenlink partner with Proterra and deploy buses that were built here in Greenville,” said Shepard. “Our customers are looking forward to a more reliable experience as the buses will replace outdated, undependable vehicles.”

The new buses feature free wi-fi, infotainment screens and bike racks. All are ADA compliant with wheelchair ramps, automatic voice annunciation systems, destination and route signs and priority seating with wheelchair securing systems.

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