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I have to disagree with the letter writer on a number of points:

"the technology is not yet available to serve all of our county’s topography and rural travel distances"

Not so. JTA has documented that the maximum "driver block" is 191 miles, which is well within the capability of today's battery-powered buses.

"The Gillig Trolley is currently available only in biodiesel or compressed natural gas."

In 2016, the first of 4 Gillig electric trolleys was delivered to Walnut Creek, CA.

See details and pictures at

There are also other manufacturers whose buses can do the job. The excuse that JTA's mechanics have more experience with Gillig's diesels would seem to be far less important than before.

JTA staff defended their decision to not use the battery-powered option that was available to them because it changed the appearance of the bus too much. Instead, they've wasted money on useless, cosmetic decorations like a fake cowcatcher and fake brass stanchions (which aren't even real brass, btw).

If this fake trolley is equipped with a bike rack, which I'm sure will be demanded by the "active transportation" folks, how will that fit in with the design scheme?

Here's the transcript of what was reported by staff at the JTA board meeting when questioned about their decision:

"this was originally intended to be a diesel purchase and then actually our electric bus that we have on order was the one that we wanted to retrofit to a trolley. There was issues, um, with the, with the battery packs on top and getting it to look like a trolley."

Back to the letter:

"Jefferson Transit buses averaged about 5.4 miles per gallon of fuel. Single occupancy vehicles average 22 to 25 mpg."

"If each bus has passengers sufficient to take five SOVs off the road, we break even. "

Those SOVs would not be driving the full route of a fixed-route bus, they would just go directly to their respective destinations. Comparing average mpg is not meaningful.

And, if those SOVs are EVs, any comparison using mpg becomes moot because our electricity is 98% clean.

JTA should find a buyer who already has a fleet of fake trolleys and unload this mistake asap.

From: Better to have a new bus than no bus at all | Letter to the editor

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