Pulling the Plug on Electric Buses

By: Diane Benjamin

Every dollar Connect Transit spends is grant money. Where does that GRANT money come form?

Tax dollars – YOU.

They spent $1,715,000 on solar panels and charging infrastructure in preparation for electric buses. https://blnnews.com/2020/12/01/more-connect-transit/

Last month Connect ordered their first 4 electric buses: PDF page 26 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Yp2A-6qp7zjhmjc2XVjk9RPUrY9-yDxx/view

That brings the total that will be spent to a little over $6.1 million. Of course they already lose around $1 million a MONTH in addition to this.

I wrote at least a year ago about the problems with electric buses. Here’s a new story from 2 days ago: https://www.americanexperiment.org/2021/03/metro-transit-pulls-the-plug-on-electric-vehicle-experiment/?fbclid=IwAR0rCydgCOdZD1qXGfZtzA15Tpq13daiP1EVexGCM1rJZWGKQ_juq0BA6P4


A report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today indicates that Metro Transit is pulling the plug on its electric vehicle ambitions:

In late 2018, Metro Transit unveiled an ambitious plan to add electric buses to its fleet — a clean alternative that was cheered by environmental and social justice groups.

The idea was to stop buying buses by 2022 powered by diesel fuel.

Since then, the transit agency has deployed just eight electric buses. And a proposal to spend $122 million for 143 new biodiesel buses will be considered by the Metropolitan Council next week. The deal represents about 15% of Metro Transit’s fleet of 900 buses.

Metro Transit’s retreat from electric buses was foreseeable.

Reports of problems with the C Line electric buses were detailed here in 2019, and on Tuesday, the electric chargers overheated, resulting in all eight buses being sidelined.

In addition to charging problems, we outlined how electric buses are much more expensive compared to their diesel counterparts. An electric bus costs around $1.2 million, while a diesel bus sells for about $748,000. We also questioned how useful electric buses would be compared to their diesel rivals because electric vehicles lose 40 percent of their charge operating with the heater on in cold weather.

(Buying a Rivian?)

Metro Transit said it wasn’t entirely closing the door on new electric buses in the future to serve shorter routes, but Metro Transit’s decision shows the technology it not yet ready for prime time.

Connect Transit will go forward regardless of the facts. They have no problem charging taxpayers exorbitant rates to transport people. In January one ride on their small buses cost them $76.77. The rides were free for those on the bus. https://blnnews.com/2021/02/25/since-mark-peterson-connect-is-even-worse/

This proves why government is incapable of being responsible, they aren’t spending their money. Socialism fails every time it is tried but Federal, State, and Local governments keep handing them money anyway.

Elect people who believe in limited government to end this nonsense.

13 thoughts on “Pulling the Plug on Electric Buses

  1. Coliseum 2.0 On Wheels. Considering this technology is still relatively immature, it seems like that introduces a number of short term problems and solves no long term problems. My view: it’s expensive to purchase, it will have much shorter book value due to technological obsolescence, maintenance will be higher and will mandate unforeseen refreshes and upgrades, maintenance staff will have to be retrained or augmented or outsourced and more facilities upgraded to support new maintenance techniques. These beasts are heavy – can’t imagine what that contributed to the already undermaintained streets. Services will not be improved either, i.e. more and more frequent routes. Budgets will not be reduced. We’re not exactly in the sun belt either. Sooooo, maybe better strategy is to move to smaller fuel efficient diesel vehicles instead of giant big city busses running empty routes in a relatively small community. I may be missing something here but who are the consumers? where is the demand coming from? Priorities: reduce expenses, improve service, quit meddling in business and allow the economy to grow and create demand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But, but…GOODBYE ILLINOIS, the residents need the local government to decide what businesses are good. After all, the local government in BN, which is well known for its business acumen and ability to manage money, knows what best for everyone. Why just look at all their success stories. There’s the Coliseum…oh, wait. Ah, Connect Transit. Nope, nevermind. Uptown. Yikes! Ah, One Uptown Circle with its fine dining restaurant…oh, right. Wait, I know…if we just give the underpass, new brewpub, and million-dollar electric busses a chance, I’m sure things will work this time.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Regardless of what powers these busses and the underlying technology, they are a ridiculous expense in light of the fact that ridership (per-pandemic) is woeful and on a continuous decline. CT gooses its numbers with their ISU arrangement and per person, per ride hometown scoring (as most riders take at least two busses). There is no demand or justification for buying more buses. In fact, if it were run with any logical sense, they would be selling off the larger busses and moving to a smaller, more nimble business model that caters specifically to those most in need and vulnerable. BN as a community is lost. The local leadership – business and government – will fall all over themselves to praise the purchase of these buses as “innovative” and contributing to the “quality of life” of the community. Yet, none will ever ride the bus (except for the Day 1 photo op of course) nor, perhaps, more importantly, be able to support the claim that they contribute to economic development or the attractiveness/desirability of the community. Millions of local tax dollars for empty buses, patronage jobs, and crony vendors, but nothing for the 99.99% of local businesses and residents.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! Pretty sure I was blacklisted by the Chamber and EDC for speaking out. I self banned by moving myself and my business. It’s night and day. I wish people could see how different and truly wonderful things can be outside of BN when residents and businesses are appreciated, and judged on their merits and unique talents. Some time ago, Bloomington-Normal got on this self-destructive path of government-led economic development, which invites cronyism and favors political thinking over marketplace reality, while closing itself off from private investment. The government gatekeeping in BN has done a heck of a job keeping out new perspectives, ideas, and innovations. At this pace, the fastest-growing voter block in BN will be those voting with their feet.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Deserves Better: The same is true in Indianapolis with the same electric buses. Wouldn’t even turn over in the winter when temps reached zero and below. Fortunately for them they only purchased a few on a trial basis and wouldn’t put them on the street on cold days. As far as local development, you are correct. The local powers that be always wanted to protect SF, CF and ISU at any cost. If any new company was interested that might pluck a person or two from those workforces they would ban together to frustrate said companies so they wouldn’t come here. Hard to.believe but true. Those same people hated outfits like Mitsubishi because the floor workers weren’t the right fit. No three piece suits and all and not demographically what they were looking for. You have absolutely no idea the types of firms that wanted to set up shop here but the Clique ran them off. When you have people at ISU, IWU , SF, CF and family restaurant owners making decisions for the masses, what you now see is what you get.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup, certainly not surprised. I’ve heard that some pretty big names (though I don’t know the specific names) have been turned away from BN that would have been huge for economic development and the community’s future growth. But because of the egos of government leadership and the undue influence of those listed, these companies and the opportunities that would have come with them were told off. It would be great to see a list of these get published so citizens can understand firsthand what is going on behind the curtain. As Diane has mentioned, the EDC is not subject to FOIA, so we’ll never see deals that they passed up or terminated. Perhaps, one day someone will talk.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. What is sad and upsetting (pisses me off) is that it not just local money paying for this waste of money be all of those that have fled Illinois for reasons just like this on. This is costing EVERY citizen in the United States money that could be used for fixing more important issues. Such as ROADS (with Federal Money assistance). So, you can leave Illinois but your still paying for decisions based on “here is a grant lets got for it” mentality of the Transit board. Nothing about common sense or logical. Diane reporting is correct and the examples she shows is just the tip of the iceberg on electric buses and other transit authorities across the country that are buying into the technology that is NOT mature as it relates to buses. They should have gone natural gas that has been proven and much more mature. BUT NO …. There is hope that the Federal government will launch an investigation of the use of Federal funds for this program to show it was and is a WASTE of TAXPAYERS money. Smaller buses is the key to cost containment and help

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Electric buses for this city, or most ANY other makes about much sense as taking hot coffee on a solar mission!
    The technology is in it’s early stages, expensive, unreliable and doesn’t have an established portable “powering” system. To mention a FEW issues…
    And can you REALLY see any of the CT drivers getting out of the bus when it’s -10* and plugging it in at the transfer station-unless the heater isn’t working??

    Liked by 1 person

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