CyRide receives federal grant to replace older buses with electric buses


Tyler Coffey/Iowa State Daily

A CyRide blue line bus travels eastward on Lincoln Way at sunset Sept. 18, 2016. CyRide recently received federal grant funding to purchase electric buses and infrastructure to support them.

Jake Webster

CyRide will purchase new buses with electric batteries with funds it received from a federal grant.

Diesel buses that have gone beyond their “useful life” will be replaced with battery electric buses, and battery chargers and dispensers will be purchased for facilities to support those new buses.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded CyRide a $1.66 million grant under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Low or No-Emission Grant program, which funds buses and infrastructure using “advanced propulsion technologies.”

An average transit electric bus costs about $750,000, according to Reuters. An average Diesel bus costs roughly $435,000. CyRide had 93 buses as of June 30, 2018.

Interim transit director of the Ames Transit Agency, Barbara Neal, said the grant is “terrific news” for CyRide, its riders and Ames as a whole.

“Supporting public transportation is a great way to reduce your own carbon footprint, while moving to electric buses will help CyRide reduce its emissions,” Neal said in a press release. “We are grateful for the funding and excited to implement this next phase of public transit improvements.”

The grant allows for the purchase or lease of buses powered by “modern, efficient technologies,” including: hydrogen fuel cells, battery electric engines and “related infrastructure investments” like charging stations.

The acting administrator of the FTA, K. Jane Williams, said the program has funded more than $300 million in new buses, infrastructure and training since it was created.

“[It has helped] create and maintain American jobs in a fast-growing industry,” Williams said in a press release.