Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority begins going green, welcomes first two electric buses. The buses were manufactured by BYD and introduced at an unveiling event Oct. 16.The “Sparky” bus is a K9S electric bus from BYD.The Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority (MTA) has received its first two electric buses after the authority won a $1.75-million Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) grant in 2017 to purchase two new electric buses.MTA was the only transit authority in Georgia to win the grant, and only one of six authorities nationwide to win the top dollar amount of $1.75 million.

In support of the electric buses, a $1.17-million charging station was built at 2737 Broadway, the site of MTA’s administrative offices and bus garage. Currently, the charging station is equipped to accommodate the two new electric buses. But with an eye toward the future, the charging station was constructed to accommodate a total of 12 electric buses.MTA says it is grateful for the $1.17 million that Macon-Bibb County earmarked in SPLOST funds (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) in support of the required federal match for the charging station.

The two K9S model electric buses were manufactured at BYD’s Coach and Bus Factory in Lancaster, Calif. These K9S electric buses, affectionately named “Sparky” and “Bolt” by MTA, provide a quiet, zero-emission ride, are 35-feet long, have a range of up to 215 miles and a top speed of 62.5 mph. They seat up to 32 passengers and can be fully charged in three to four hours.

According to Patrick Duan, BYD North America vice president, “Our innovative battery-electric buses will help keep the air clean and lower MTA’s operating costs while providing a comfortable ride.”

MTA CEO Craig Ross added, “We have been working on this bold initiative for more than two years and are delighted to leap into the future. The citizens of Macon-Bibb County will be well-served by buses that utilize this clean, safe and efficient technology.

We appreciate the fine work of our partner, Georgia Power, and its subcontractors who constructed the charging station.

We thank John Hatch, BYD’s regional sales manager, Southeast, and the factory team in Lancaster, California — all of whom have been invaluable throughout the process, including navigating a pandemic. The dual bus wrap design featuring a lightning bolt on one side and an electric plug on the other was chosen as an attention-getter highlighting our new green technology.”

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