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The Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $6,343,890 FTA Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo) Grant to purchase six electric buses and a fast-charge station from Proterra. Out of more than 70 applications, the DTA was one of only ten grant applicants to receive funding. A $1,119,510 local share will bring the total project cost to $7,463,400. The buses will be built at Proterra Manufacturing in Greenville, South Carolina with delivery anticipated in 2016. The fast-charge station will also be purchased and integrated into the DTA’s new Multimodal Transportation Center. DTA General Manager, Dennis Jensen, believes this will have a significant impact on public transit across the country. “We’re very excited about this award. The timing is perfect as we have incorporated the charging station into the design of the new Multimodal Transportation Center,” said Jensen. “The operation of the all-electric vehicles in the Duluth area with its challenging weather and terrain will provide a real test and developmental process for electric vehicle technology in the transit industry.” Duluth’s typography being on a hill along with the long winter season provides an ideal testing ground for electric buses. Source: http://www.duluthtransit.com/feed/news/739
I was down in the Rochester area yesterday for some more photos of the system. The 1995 Gillig Phantoms are gone, so the fleet is now 100% Gillig Low Floor. The system is still basically branded as Rochester City Lines, although RCL only operates the system and doesn't actually own the buses. (Note, I'm referring to the local bus system and not the commuter system) Some photos of the Gilligs, unfortunately it was cloudy while I was there so the quality isn't the best: The new downtown transfer center shelters: There may be some changes on the way for the system. Last year the FTA notified Rochester that because they're receiving federal funding they need to put their transit service operations out to bid, instead of simply contracting exclusively with RCL. RCL filed a lawsuit to stop the city from issuing an RFP for transit operations, however the lawsuit was dismissed. Rochester Post-Bulletin: Who owns Rochester Bus Service? Rochester Post-Bulletin: Judge Declines to stop Rochester Bus Bidding Process Rochester Post-Bulletin: Judge: City bus Bidding Process may Proceed Whether RCL will win the contract or not is unknown. I'm guessing that if another operator, i.e. First or MV, wins the contract instead, then some re-branding will be in order for the local bus system. Schedule books, bus livery, and most of the bus stop signs have "Rochester City Lines" as the system. Since that is a private company name and logo however, I doubt they can continue to use it as a system name, if another contractor takes over. Rochester City Lines also operates commuter service to surrounding areas, a few coaches are left parked in the downtown area during the day: