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CARTA moving to electric busses?

Other upgrades en route

As CARTA prepares to replace six Electric Shuttle and eight fixed-route vehicles, the organization is looking into the possibility of partnering with Nashville to purchase three large electric busses from a manufacturer called Proterra Inc.

These three vehicles are part of a pilot program to see if it is feasible to replace longer route transit vehicles with electric options.

“We need to look at fuel, maintenance and electricity expenses to see what will work,” said CARTA Assistant Executive Director Lisa Maragnano.

The bus manufacturer is coming to Chattanooga Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at CARTA’s main facility, located at 1617 Wilcox Blvd., to showcase the busses. While the demonstration is primarily for CARTA staff and its maintenance team, Maragnano said anyone is welcome to attend.

This is the first vehicle CARTA has looked into as a replacement for some of the existing shuttles, busses and vans, she said.

“The vehicle is well built and has a good reputation for being reliable,” said Maragnano. “We will be doing more research and visitations during the request for proposal process.”

Assuming CARTA chooses to partner with Nashville on the purchase of these vehicles, she said there are several benefits of an intercity partnership.

“We will be sharing our procurement resources, thus sharing the workload and expenses,” said Maragnano. “We are also hoping to get a better price because we will be ordering more vehicles. This also gives us an opportunity to share our experience with our Electric Shuttle fleet with Nashville.”

In addition to this possible purchase, she also said CARTA received some grant funding to replace both fixed-route and Care-A-Van vehicles. The organization is also planning on re-evaluating some of its current services to better provide public transportation for the Chattanooga area.

“Over the next year we will be evaluating all of our routes and the need for services to see what we can do to offer more choices,” said Maragnano.

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