CyRide receives $3.1 million grant to expand fleet


CyRide will add additional electric buses to its fleet after receiving a $3.1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. 

Ella Hawkins

CyRide was recently awarded $3.1 million from the Federal Transit Administration Grants for Bus and Bus Facilities Competitive Program. This grant money is being used to expand CyRide’s bus fleet.

This was a federally competitive grant with over 300 applicants. CyRide was among the 70 facilities that were awarded a total of approximately $409 million.

“We’re extremely excited and honored to be one of that 70,” Barbara Neal, the transit director at CyRide, said. “We’re also happy and excited about the technology that we’re bringing to the Ames community, especially Iowa State University.”

CyRide ranks as the third public transit bus system in the nation for rides per capita and operates 13 routes with high capacity. 

CyRide will be using this money to add three more battery electric buses and two more articulated buses to take the spot of five diesel buses on their fleet. Articulated buses are 60 foot buses that have more capacity, operational efficiencies and run on the 23 Orange route. 

With the goal of slowly transitioning to a fleet with only battery electric buses and this recent grant award, CyRide now has funding for eight battery electric buses that will be arriving starting in July and throughout upcoming years. 

“We really are excited about the two that are coming this summer because ultimately we’ll be able to see how they operate with our system and how we work,” Neal said. 

CyRide has other plans in place to continue reducing their carbon footprint in addition to adding electric buses. These plans include using biodiesel fuels, solar-powered bus shelters and an energy efficient administrative building.

“The City of Ames has a pretty large plan, and it’s going to take a lot of involvement from everybody to really hit their goal of reducing carbon output,” Chris Crippen, assistant director of operations at CyRide, said. “We always like to think that we also help take other people off the road, so by riding the bus, you help reduce your own carbon footprint.”