All-electric Clean Air Express commuter bus makes debut in Buellton

Good News Notes:

North County commuters who ride the Clean Air Express to jobs on the South Coast will help eliminate 450 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually each time they ride a new all-electric bus unveiled Friday morning in Buellton.

More than 25 elected and appointed federal, state, county and city officials and representatives of state and local agencies, companies, commissions and committees attended the event on the Avenue of Flags.

Clean Air Express provides transportation for about 7,000 passengers a month from the cities of Solvang, Buellton, Santa Maria and Lompoc and their surrounding unincorporated communities to and from jobs in Goleta and Santa Barbara.

Officials said one of the 17 diesel-fueled charter-style buses operated by Clean Air Express will be replaced by the $850,000 battery-electric intercity commuter bus, cumulatively reducing CO2 emissions by an amount equal to that generated by the electricity use of 80 homes in a year.

“We know that transportation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” said Das Williams, chairman of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments board of directors.

“A switch to cleaner, quieter and smoother public transit options is a switch in the right direction, one that is imperative for our future — for our children and neighbors.”

Williams said the 45-foot-long bus is an example of the zero-emission vehicle industry’s evolving technology that is changing long-range transportation through improved efficiency that saves energy and benefits the environment.

“If there’s a way out of traffic jams, a way out of congestion, this is the way out,” Williams said, pointing at the bus behind him with his thumb.

SBCAG officials estimate the Clean Air Express eliminates more than 400,000 vehicle miles traveled by commuters in individual cars every month.

“All-electric buses serving long-distance commuters are the way forward to cleaner and healthier transportation options for all Californians,” said state Sen. Monique Limón.

Marjie Kirn, executive director of SBCAG, said only two other transit systems in the United States have been able to introduce all-electric buses to their long-distance commuter fleets, and both of those systems are much larger than Clean Air Express.

Congressman Salud Carbajal said the electric bus “means good public health, clean air for everyone.”

“This vehicle plays an important part in modernizing our transportation infrastructure,” Carbajal said….”

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