The Spokane Transit Authority has unveiled a 60-foot electric bus that might remind people of the city's defunct street car system.
“It’s meant to operate like a streetcar in other cities,” Brandon Rapez Betty of Spokane Transit said. “It’s so much more affordable and it’s a lot more flexible to accommodate our downtown events like Bloomsday and Hoopfest.”
He said the bus was also designed to invoke the image of a train, with a dark front fading to lilac. He said it’s much quieter than the diesel engines most of the current buses have, and releases zero emissions.
When it comes online next year, it will also run as frequently as a street car would.
This bus is one of 18 fully electric buses STA plans to purchase over the next two years. Rapez-Betty said the goal, if enough grants and investments are available, is to eventually have an entirely electric fleet.
“We’re just trying to appeal to a broader audience so more people use transit downtown because that has a ton of benefits for everyone,” he said. “It’s good for traffic, it’s good for the environment, it’s just good all around.”
Rapez Betty said this fully electric bus is scheduled to start carrying passengers in May of 2022. Some neighborhoods may start seeing it sooner however as drivers train on the new bus and STA tests routes.
This story was updated on March 19 to reflect that Spokane Transit Authority and not Spokane Regional Transportation Council has purchased an electrict bus.