Electric buses on the way for riders in Bloomington-Normal

$15.8 million will be invested in buying a whole new fleet to run off solar and wind power.
Bloomington-Normal is trying to go green and create a more sustainable way for people to live.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:20 PM CST
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BLOOMINGTON - NORMAL (25 News Now) - Riders in Bloomington-Normal will soon see their buses go from fossil fuels to clean energy.

“We have another 8 being delivered this year, earlier this year and then we have another 5 coming at the end of this year. Then we’ll have 5 more coming next year,” says David Braun, the General Manager of Connect Transit.

Jamaine Gibson, the Director of Apprentice & Workforce Development for Amalgamated Transit Union, the largest union representing transit and allied workers in the U.S. and Canada says, “you don’t have to deal with the fumes. You don’t have to deal with a bus that emitted diesel or just sitting in the yard waiting for it to pull out and you’re around other vehicles that are letting out diesel fumes. These are much cleaner, much safer for the operators to operate.”

For the bus drivers, they say, it’s a better work environment.

“I think the biggest piece is the noise. These vehicles are a lot quieter. You don’t even know sometimes that they are on. It’s going to be more of the experience of, you’re not going to know you’re riding on a vehicle and have less noise. Also, when you start talking about the emissions that a diesel bus puts out compared to one of the battery-electric vehicles it’s not even close.” explains Gibson.

It’s a close to $16 million investment...with wheels already on the ground with more electric rides on the way.

They expect 22 buses in operation by the end of 2024.

“We have another 8 being delivered this year, earlier this year and then we have another 5 coming at the end of this year. Then we’ll have 5 more coming next year. For each bus we’ll save about 7,000 gallons of diesel a year,” says Braun.