Santa Maria Regional Transit is launching its first two electric bus services this weekend.
The two Proterra Model ZX5+ vehicles are upgraded with safety and passenger amenities, including public Wi-Fi.
Both vehicles will be equipped with the latest in air quality management equipment. Each bus cost about $900,000.
With the adoption of the city’s 2022-24 budget, the transit division is authorized to spend about $22 million in federal and state funding over the next two fiscal years to support the purchase of as many as 15 electric buses, which will expand the total number of electric buses in the fleet to 16.
By 2024, the city should have 16 total buses. By the summer of 2023, 10 new buses should be arriving, with six of the final buses arriving in 2024.
The electric bus batteries will need to be charged overnight and the batteries for each bus should last about 12 years.
Transitioning to electric buses is anticipated to save the transit program’s operating budget about $300,000 annually for fuel and maintenance costs.
Some of the costs for electric vehicle charging stations will be reimbursed under PG&E’s E-Fleet Ready Program.
The city also received more than $200,000 from the State’s Low Carbon Transportation Operations Program for the transition.