By Elisabeth Tharp
Published: August 11, 2021
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With more than 5,200 acres, there aren’t too many ways to get around the Texas A&M campus in a timely manner. Thanks to a partnership with Brazos Transit District (BTD), A&M is changing the bus game. The university introduced its first electric-operated bus on Tuesday.
Environmentally friendly, with batteries that are equivalent to eight Tesla’s, TAMU Transportation Services introduced the state’s first university-operated electric buses Tuesday morning in partnership with BTD.
“We’ve always wanted to make the cities of Bryan and College Station better and we can’t think of a better way than doing it with electric buses,” VP for Marketing & Communication at BTD Jo Marlow said.
Out of 891 applicants, 91 projects were awarded. Just five of those projects were in Texas and only one went to a public transit provider, BTD.
“We can’t express our gratitude for this and for all the hard work everyone helped us do because it was not a project that we did on our own, it was a team effort from the beginning,” Marlow said.
Texas A&M Transportation Services was able to share in a $14 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant with BTD which allowed the university to purchase three electric buses, as well as 24 diesel buses to replace some of the fleet’s older vehicles.
“To be able to run that at speeds of 65 mph out on the highway to go to RELLIS and to be able to hold its charge and do everything it needs to do the entire day, not having to worry about running out of battery or swapping the bus out on route is absolutely awesome, the technology is amazing,” Associate VP of Transportation Services at TAMU Peter Lang said.
One electric bus weighs almost 17,000 tons and yet it makes almost no noise.
“It’s running now and you don’t hear it,” Lang said, “There are ones [electric buses] going by and you don’t hear them.”
While this is a potentially dangerous situation for those who rely on sound to move throughout their day, TAMU and BTD were able to come up with a solution.
“We’ve installed beepers on the signals so anytime the bus turns (or backs up) it beeps,” Lang said.
Will the future be all-electric for A&M and Brazos Transit?
“I think it will take some time, but I think eventually electric is going to win and here’s the start,” Lang said.
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