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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

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  • 2 months later...

My thoughts and prayers for those involved :(

One killed in DTA bus crash in downtown Duluth

Oh, and if anyone is thinking of just asking whether the buses will be scrapped or repaired, I won't be responding to such a stupid and inconsiderate question.

Very sad. very bad wreck. my thoughts and prayers to everyone as well.

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  • 9 months later...

I was able to make a quick visit to Duluth this morning to see the grand opening of the new Duluth Transit Center (DTC) hub. Operations at the center will officially start Sunday for the DTA, replacing their current street transfer point on Superior St and 2nd Avenue West. (The new DTC is located a block south with direct access to superior via a skywalk bridge.)

So here are a couple shots of the new DTC:

24527438690_1ab14cb52e_t.jpg 24527438060_04ccccc002_t.jpg 24194790474_b8a2310dfa_t.jpg

... and the DTA buses on display:

24194811734_95da0fe5ee_t.jpg 24705140642_129f699969_t.jpg 24796707316_ec3b4c1da7_t.jpg

Overall it seems like a nice facility. While it's not right in the downtown action like the old transfer point, I like that they're keeping it in downtown, and not following some trends by shoving it off to some corner to keep 'those people' out of the way. The new DTC will also be serving as the new Jefferson Lines depot with both Jefferson and Indian Trails connections.


Here's a final look at the downtown Superior/2AW transfer point, as well as a couple other bus pics taken on Superior. I assume they'll still have a stop there for at least a few routes, but most routes will be making different turns to get a block over to the new hub.

24729472511_23de6305e1_t.jpg 24194807134_9e78dee677_t.jpg 24705129222_f5f4fec0c6_t.jpg 24196144723_23e3c733c4_t.jpg 24455350479_fc5cf17dd8_t.jpg


Finally, the first of the Proterra units is expected to arrive in June. I was told the initial group of three will be coming with the 35 mile range quick charge batteries, but are being built to accommodate a future retrofit for a new extended range battery pack that is currently in final development. The Proterras will initially be assigned to UMD routes, but once the complete order of 7 is in they will probably be found on many DTA lines. There are no known issues with any of the current DTA routes that would prohibit one of the Proterras from operating. Apparently due to the rather hilly terrain in Duluth they spent a lot of time testing one out to make sure it wouldn't be bottoming out, draining a battery climbing the hills, or getting stuck under any bridges. A benefit with the hilly terrain is when the buses are heading downhill they'll be able to recharge the batteries a bit with the regen braking. There will be two charging pods installed, one at the DTC, and of course one at the operations center (garage). Considering how entertaining it is to ride the Gilligs up and down some of those steep hills I'm looking forward to riding a Proterra there someday in the coming months :)

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  • 6 months later...

I was wondering why I hadn't seen any news about the Proterras...

Duluth's electric buses delayed


Ticketed to receive a half-dozen electric buses this summer, the Duluth Transit Authority has seen the process delayed a year as it works with the manufacturer to develop a bus that can withstand the harsh Northland winters and the city's hillside landscape.

Kind of a bummer it's going to be another year, but I certainly can understand their reasons for wanting to get it done right. Having ridden around Duluth on their Gillig Low Floors I can say they aren't joking when they say it's a harsh operating environment. (Think Winnipeg winter in a Seattle topography)

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  • 8 months later...

I've been informed the Proterras should arrive early 2018.

In other news the DTA downtown transit center has been closed once again due to nearby road construction blocking access. It should reopen July 1st. Meanwhile the system is utilizing the Holiday/TCE exchanges on Superior.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...


I was up in Duluth myself the week before the Proterra went into service.  During my brief visit new Gillig Low Floor 40' 1800-1809 had just entered service. DTA was also operating Southwest Transit 524, a 2016 Gillig trolley, presumably on loan.

44751777214_03b61c8a72_t.jpg 30536937797_fa2720d315_t.jpg 30536868457_ee49198573_t.jpg

I hope I can make it back up to Duluth sometime soon to ride a couple of the Proterras.

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  • 4 months later...

Was in Duluth for a quick visit last week. The Protatoes are indeed running. however they have been renumbered into the 18xx series, so that's why no 5xx appear on the tracker. I think they run them primarily on the peak period runs for now. Unfortunately I only ended up riding a couple Gilligs during my afternoon visit, but at least I got a decent pic of one:

47374222741_a3680f9438_t.jpg 47321290612_4133d0485f_t.jpg

Edit: Also forgot to mention, both Gilligs I rode had these plastic bins for storing grocery/shopping bags attached at the front, pretty nice idea IMO.


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  • 5 months later...

I found an old Copart listing of #296, a 2006 Gillig LowFloor that was listed for scrap. VIN #15GGD291761076739  https://www.copart.com/lot/50559778

I was also able to find this pdf of Duluth auctioning off eight buses in January 2019 which includes:

  • 295: 15GGD291561076738
  • 296: 15GGD291761076739
  • 112: 15GGB271571078306
  • 113: 15GGB271771078307
  • 114: 15GGB271971078308
  • 115: 15GGB271071078309
  • 116: 15GGB271771078310
  • 117: 15GGB271771078310


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  • 1 year later...

So DTA is currently handling a multi-agency RFP for buses. 30, 35', 40' low floor and 45' coach. They also tacked on an addendum for one double-decker bus. I'm very interested to see what the outcome of this is when it finally gets awarded. (They've been delaying for months) Some of these partner agencies are historically loyal to Gillig, while others are loyal to NFI. The way it sounds contracts could ultimately be issued to NFI, MCI, ADL, and Gillig so everyone gets what they want while still meeting FTA regs for competitive bidding. The schedule doesn't seem to mention who specifically is looking for a double decker, but from those listed it's safe to assume it's MVTA or Southwest.





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  • 3 weeks later...

DTA has released their draft network developed as a part of their ongoing Comprehensive Operations Analysis.


  • Two "pre-BRT" routes would offer 10 min peak, 15 min midday, and 20 min weekend, and 60 min early/late hour service
    • 101 between Spirit Valley and UMD via Grand, Superior, and 21st Ave E replacing portions of 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7.
    • 102 between downtown Duluth and Hermantown Walmart via 6th Ave E, Central Entrance, and Miller Hill Mall replacing portions of 10 and 11.
  • Four routes that offer 30 min weekday service and 60 min evening/weekend service
    • 104 between downtown Duluth and UMD via E 4th St replacing portions of 10, 13, and 23.
    • 105 between downtown Duluth and UMD via E 9th St replacing portions of 11 and 23.
    • 107 between downtown Duluth and Miller Hill Mall via Lake Superior College replacing portions of 5, 8, and 9.
    • 110 between downtown Duluth and Superior, WI Walmart via UW-Superior and Tower Ave replacing portions of 16 and 17.
  • Seven routes that provide hourly service every day.
    • 103 between New Duluth and Lakeside via Grand and Superior, replacing portions of 2, 5, and 7
    • 106 between downtown Duluth and UMD via College of St Scholastica and Kenwood, replacing portions of 11 and 12.
    • 108 between downtown Duluth and Airport via Piedmont and Miller Hill Mall, replacing portions of 5, 8, 9, and 10.
    • 109 between downtown Duluth and Proctor via I-35 and Spirit Valley, replacing portions of 3, 4, and S1.
    • 111 between downtown Superior and Itasca, WI replacing 16.
    • 112 between Miller Hill Mall and Woodland via UMD, Arrowhead, and Rice Lake replacing portions of 11, 13, and 18.
    • 113 between Central Hillside and Park Point, replacing portions of 10 and 15.
  • The Port Town Trolley will be renumbered from 19 to 114, operating every 10-20 mins seasonally.


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