For Full Story: Sun-Sentinel

Article By: Joe Cavaretta

 

When sleepy commuters showed up for their usual 6:20 a.m. departure Monday on the Route 110 express to the Brickell Metrorail Station in Miami, they didn’t know the ride would be free on this day.

That’s because they were the first passengers to test ride Broward County Transit’s 45-foot-long battery electric commuter bus.

“Oh great!’ rider Judy-Ann Thomas exclaimed when finding out she and about a dozen other passengers wouldn’t have to pay for their morning ride to their jobs.

Broward’s bus system has been approved to purchase five of the battery-electric buses, which are scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2019.

The buses, manufactured by the company Build Your Dreams Motors, were first unveiled in 2017 at the American Public Transportation Associated Expo. The company has since supplied hundreds of the buses to mass transit systems in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and elsewhere.

“It seems quiet, very quiet,” Thomas said as she boarded the bus that boasts “zero emissions” on its side panel below the word “electric” in all capital letters.

“We’ll have to see what the pluses are,” she said.

The advantages are many, said Broward Transportation Director Chris Walton.

“Battery-electric buses will not only lessen our dependence on fossil fuels to improve our air quality but also save the county money on fuel and maintenance costs.”

The plan is to eventually transition Broward County Transit to an all-electric bus fleet. One thing officials want to know first, however, is if South Florida’s hot climate and heavy use of air conditioning will affect the life of the batteries the buses use thereby limiting how far they travel before needing to be recharged.