Location: Shreveport, LA
Fleet Type: Heavy-duty Public Bus Fleet

 

Narrative

SporTran was the first fleet in Louisiana to electrify and their early start has kept them ahead of the game as they are still the largest electric fleet in the state.

SporTran is a paratransit and fixed route transit services provider, with service to Shreveport and Bossier City, the third largest city in Louisiana. SporTran sports a fleet of over 50 busses in their fleet which includes other alternative fuel vehicles such as CNG buses.

In 2016 SporTran won a grant through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Grant for $3.9 million, which funded the five electric buses, three depot chargers and an on-route fast charger. In 2017 the buses were delivered to Shreveport and began operating on routes. To do this the fleet replaced six of their old diesel buses with Proterra 40’ Catalyst E2 buses; it was predicted that this change would reduce not only emissions, but also costs and it was estimated to save the organization $2.2 million on maintenance and fuels, which they planned to reinvest into their transportation services. The electric buses have a range of 200 miles per charge. Presently, buses need four to five hours to charge for a two-hour run time. That number drops to 30 to 45 minutes with the fast-charger.

To mark this achievement, SporTran, Proterra and senior government officials came together with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to commemorate the deployment of the new electric buses and the debut of new transit stations and infrastructure.

In 2019 the fleet applied for VW funding to install overhead fast chargers to expand their electric operations, and is currently negotiating that funding with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to get the charger deployed. The additional funds were granted to aid the electric fleet. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality announced a $200,000 grant from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund. SWEPCO added $150,000 in matching funds. The money has been used to purchase a fast-charger and associated infrastructure for SporTran’s five electric buses.

Outputs and Outcomes

SporTran, a paratransit and fixed route transit services provider, has been operating five electric buses since 2017. In 2022, these electric buses have resulted in significant outcomes and outputs that demonstrate their positive impact on the environment and the community. Data shows positive outcomes and outputs from the integration of electric buses into SporTran’s fleet. Passengers appreciate the quiet and comfortable ride provided by electric buses, and they appreciate the environmental benefits of using electric transportation.

Additionally, the electric buses have helped SporTran to reduce their operating costs, as they require less maintenance than traditional buses and have lower fuel costs. Overall, integrating electric buses into SporTran’s fleet has been a success, providing significant environmental benefits, cost savings, and improved passenger experience. The positive outcomes and outputs demonstrate the potential of electric transportation to transform the public transportation sector and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Applying for grants from multiple sources of funding has helped this project thrive. Having started with federal funds and shifting towards state funds once the project had been started helped showcase a need for funds as well as success in utilizing them for the project.

Obtaining funds can be a much more timely process than expected. In this project the funds through the LA DEQ were awarded in 2019, however, negotiations are ongoing to receive the money for the aforementioned fast charger. This is another reason why utilizing multiple sources of funds can be instrumental.

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SporTran Fleet Story

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