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Lexington, Louisville Receive Funds For Electric Buses

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Federal Transit Administration
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When you think of a city bus, you might picture a well-worn vehicle with squeaky brakes and maybe a trail of exhaust in its wake. But the next buses to join Lextran’s fleet might change that image.

Lextran is about to embark on a new chapter in its history – one that includes battery-powered buses that generate zero emissions. Company spokesperson Jill Barnett says that’s thanks to a $6M grant from the U.S. department of Transportation, which will fund "five electric buses and then a charging station, and some of the system that are needed to get those things up and running."

And while Barnett says not to expect the greener fleet in Lexington for at least a year, riders in Louisville are already getting a taste.

"People are interested in them right now. They're very fascinated. We're getting a lot of good feedback. On social media, Facebook and Twitter, people are sharing their thoughts and so far it's been all positive," says John Reiter with the Transit Authority of River City, or TARC.

Though TARC has only been running the electric buses for a few weeks, they’ve already crunched the numbers on the predicted savings and they figure the diesel-free fleet will save them $110,000 a year in fuel alone.

Reiter says the only challenge has been getting used to vehicles he says are “quite a departure” from the old buses.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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