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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 3, 2018
PSTA to Launch First All-Electric Bus Service
E-Looper to run free service in Downtown St. Petersburg beginning Sunday, Oct 7
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Congressman Charlie Crist joined Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) leaders, City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and Pinellas County Commissioners Monday to celebrate the launch of Pinellas County’s first all-electric bus.
PSTA’s Looper, which goes into service on Sunday, October 7, will run in downtown St. Petersburg free of charge.
“This is a step towards a greener, cleaner future for Pinellas County,” said PSTA CEO Brad Miller, “We’ve led the charge as an innovator and a leader in the transit industry, and now we’ve accomplished another milestone by launching the first zero-emission, all-electric bus service in St. Petersburg.”
PSTA purchased two electric buses from BYD Inc, a Los Angeles-based electric bus manufacturer, out of its capital budget back in 2016 as part of its zero-emission vehicle program. Later that year, the Pinellas County Commission allocated nearly $600,000 of BP settlement funds to support the purchase of an en-route charging station in downtown St. Petersburg.
“We’ve come together as a community to ensure that our future generations have a clean and beautiful county to call home one day,” said Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long. “The future of Pinellas County is clean, green, and electric!”
In 2017, PSTA was awarded $1 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to purchase two more electric buses scheduled to arrive in 2019.
At the event, Congressman Crist announced the FTA has awarded PSTA a second grant to purchase two more buses bringing the electric fleet to six by 2020.
“Pinellas’ future shines bright thanks in part to the forward-thinking leadership at PSTA. This $1 million federal grant – for the second year in a row – will ensure they continue leading the charge in providing sustainable transportation options,” said Crist. “I’m proud to support this environmentally-friendly and innovative transit solution.”
The $1.2 million E-Looper service is funded in partnership by the city of St. Petersburg, St. Pete Partnership, Florida Department of Transportation, and PSTA. The City of St. Petersburg contributes nearly $360,000 a year to the service.
The E-Looper will provide 15-minute service around downtown St. Petersburg seven days a week, free of charge. For a complete schedule visit psta.net/Looper.
PSTA’s current contract with BYD allows for the purchase of up to 20 electric buses.
“We are pleased to be a part of PSTA’s future in zero emissions and congratulate all those involved in moving this program forward for the city,” said Bobby Hill, Vice President of BYD North America, Coach and Bus.