Although a completely electrified transit system would be ideal, the technology is not yet available to serve all of our county’s topography and rural travel distances. The new Jefferson …
Although a completely electrified transit system would be ideal, the technology is not yet available to serve all of our county’s topography and rural travel distances. The new Jefferson Transit Authority trolley is not without environmental advantages especially as a biodiesel bus.
The Gillig Trolley is currently available only in biodiesel or compressed natural gas. It is intended to complement the Historic District character.
Data from past JTA facilities reports indicate that our 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.
If each bus averages more than five passengers, we are lowering our community carbon footprint compared to those passengers driving their own vehicles.
Moreover, biodiesel is sourced from modern plant matter and its carbon emissions are considered part of the natural carbon cycle rather than a fossil carbon input, greatly lowering the trolley’s footprint.
A frequent misconception is that organizations can do whatever they want with grant money, such as that which explicitly supported the trolley purchase. Most grants are awarded for specific projects with a definitive timeline. Given the lengthy waitlist for bus purchases, this grant was approved in 2019 with a different JTA administration, a different authority board, and the grant money needed to be spent or lost. That’s how grants work. Better to have another bus on the shuttle run than no bus at all.
In reality, the most rapid way our community can reduce our carbon footprint is to drive less and walk, bicycle, and take transit more frequently. Consider a weekly walk or bike ride for an errand or an occasional (zero fare) bus trip. It all adds up.
Ideally, the new trolley would be an electric vehicle, but it remains a more climate friendly choice over individual automobiles. JTA will receive its first fully electric bus in 2023.
2 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here