STOCKTON — In an effort to improve air quality in the Central Valley, the San Joaquin Regional Transit District will be welcoming new zero-emission buses into its fleet next year.
The agency was one of five in the Valley to be awarded the buses through the California Air Resources Board, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and Proterra, a leading firm that designs and manufactures the vehicles.
Proterra will deliver the two 40-foot zero-emission buses to RTD in late 2017, Proterra officials said last week.
“We, as a company, are especially grateful to agencies like RTD, who want to help reduce fuel emissions in their area,” Proterra Senior Vice President of Sales Matt Horton said. “They saw the benefits of this technology, and we’re very excited to be working with them in the Central Valley.”
Horton said RTD has been a leader among transit agencies to add zero-emission buses to fleets, as the agency was one of the first with which Proterra partnered.
In 2013, the agency was the first in Northern California to add two 35-foot zero-emission buses from Proterra to its fleet.
This will be the second time RTD has added the vehicles to its fleet of 133, and Horton said the agency has already ordered more for the future.
Horton said his company, as well as representatives from the Air Resources Board and the air quality control district, visited various communities to observe the immediate need for zero-emission buses.
The amount of air pollution and size of the community played a factor in determining which areas were awarded more vehicles, he said.
Other agencies that will receive new buses are the city of Modesto transit services, which will add four vehicles; the city of Visalia, two; California State University, Fresno, three; and Fresno County Rural Transit Agency, four.
“This program was specifically tailored to parts of the state with air quality challenges, as well as economic challenges,” Horton said. “We’re very pleased that we could put these vehicles to work in an area like the San Joaquin Valley, where they are very much needed.”
Max Vargas, a spokesman for RTD, said one of the things the agency is trying to accomplish with the new buses is to promote innovation in technology, as well as raise awareness of public health.
“We were very proud in 2013 to produce Northern California’s first zero-emission bus route,” Vargas said. “We’re just continuing that push forward to reduce emissions as much as possible.”
Grant to Fund RTD Zero-Emission Buses, by Wes Bowers, Recordernet.com, November 18, 2016.