Arlington Transit Takes A Green Leap: Acquires 4 Battery Electric Buses

Arlington Transit Takes Acquires 4 Battery Electric Buses from Gillig.

Arlington’s transit landscape is embracing sustainability with zeal as the Arlington Transit (ART) system embarks on a significant shift.

In a monumental move towards environmentally conscious public transportation, ART is set to introduce four battery electric buses into its fleet, marking a remarkable first for the agency.

Pioneering Sustainable Growth

Christian Dorsey, Chair of the Arlington County Board, affirmed, “Delivering transit service is at the core of who we are and what we do when it comes to realizing our vision of smart growth that is environmentally conscious and sustainable.”

The chosen battery electric buses, crafted by the American manufacturer Gillig, underwent rigorous testing and operational evaluations by ART staff on a variety of routes throughout Arlington in 2022.

Harmonizing Environmental and Operational Excellence

This acquisition forms an integral part of a broader contract proposal aiming to replace aging vehicles within the ART fleet, totaling 19 buses.

The four battery electric pilot buses comprise three 588 kWh units and one 686 kWh battery-powered behemoth. Once the ART Operations and Maintenance Facility on Shirlington Road is completed, these cutting-edge vehicles will be deployed.

Gillig electric buses are known for their exceptional safety ratings, having received the highest score ever in the critical braking test, stopping, on average, over 30 feet.

Lynn Rivers, Transit Bureau chief for Arlington County, elucidated, “This purchase is the second step of the County Board’s focus on a greener, healthier future for Arlington Transit.

The partnership with Gillig points us in the right direction for a reliable and resilient zero-emission transit fleet that contributes to a cleaner, healthier County.”

Testing the Waters for Progress

These initial battery electric buses are poised to participate in a pilot program, strategically designed to evaluate emerging technologies within ART operations while upholding the current standards of dependable service.

Presently, ART’s fleet is composed of seventy-eight Compressed Natural Gas buses. The introduction of zero-emission buses and mobile chargers underscores Arlington’s resolute commitment to transforming into a carbon-neutral community by 2050.

Financial Underpinnings

Securing the funding required for this significant step was a collaborative endeavor, supported by a combination of resources.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) contributed $3.26 million, while local county transportation funding amounted to $1.16 million.

A Glimpse of the Arlington Transit System

Arlington Transit’s bus service stands as a testament to safe, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable transportation within Arlington County.

With 16 routes facilitating connections between neighborhoods, Metrobus, Metrorail, and Virginia Railway Express, ART is a vital component of the region’s transit ecosystem.

As a new Arlington Transit Strategic Plan takes shape, set to guide services for the next decade, the agency’s commitment to progressive, sustainable transport remains unwavering.

For maps, schedules, and trip planning, interested individuals can explore the ART website.

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