Electric buses will be quietly roaming Macon streets by early 2019.
The Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority announced Wednesday it has received a $1.75 million grant to add two battery-powered buses to its fleet. The electric buses will travel along the Second Street Corridor.
It will take about a year for BYD, or Build Your Dreams, to build the vehicles. The buses should arrive in Macon in either late 2018 or early 2019, Transit Authority Chairman Craig Ross said.
The Transit Authority began working to find a source for funding the electric buses about two years ago. There was stiff competition for the $55 million in grants being awarded to transit systems by the Federal Transit Administration. There were only six transit systems in the nation that received the $1.75 million amount, Ross said.
“We will increase overall fleet efficiency, reduce emission and develop the relevant skills and experience necessary to make a future expansion of zero emission buses,” Ross said during the announcement held at the Terminal Station.
The 35-foot buses will replace some of the transit system’s aging fleet. Being awarded the grant involved the cooperation of the Transit Authority, Macon-Bibb County, U.S. legislators, state transportation department and Georgia Power, Ross said.
Electric buses are a perfect fit for the corridor that is is designed to become a new gateway into downtown, Mayor Robert Reichert said.
Work is still underway on the Second Street Corridor project’s final phase, which is replacing the “hump bridge” on Second Street at Ash Street.
The mayor envisions the electric bus routes running along Second Street and by Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University and the Geico corporate offices off Ocmulgee Boulevard East.
“What you see here is the tangible beginning of the implementation of the vision,” Reichert said.