COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Central Ohio is debuting a more environmentally friendly way of getting around town. Wednesday morning, Columbus leaders got their first look at the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) new line of battery-powered electric buses.
“We’re really excited to be on the cutting edge of transit in our city, but also sustainability. This is the future,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin.
Several buses parked outside of City Hall Wednesday morning demonstrated the new technology. The zero-emission vehicles are quieter than their diesel counterparts. When 2 of the buses join COTA’s fleet later this month, followed by 8 more in the near future, they will be WiFi enabled and feature better accessibility and safety for drivers and passengers.
Hardin explained grants, tax dollars and bus fares are paying for the new technology. Some of the money is helping create an infrastructure with more charging stations. It’s part of the city’s goal to limit carbon emissions.
“This will only get better and better, easier and easier, and the costs will come down as the technology improves,” Hardin said.
Identical buses are already in use at John Glenn International Airport. When a new rental car facility opened at the beginning of September, the airport also rolled out zero-emission buses to shuttle passengers. So far, more than 40,000 people have used the service.
“They’ve been really well-received. People are really glad to be able to have a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable ride,” said Sarah McQuaide, the Communications and Marketing Manager at the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA).
COTA’s goal is to fully eliminate the use of diesel-power by 2025. It plans to be completely carbon-neutral by 2050.
“As Columbus becomes more and more familiar with this, it’s really going to become the expectation of how we move away from diesel and fossil fuels to a more sustainable resource,” Hardin said.