RTS Awarded $3M in Federal Funding
The Regional Transit System (RTS) has been awarded $3 million in federal funding to enhance its service and fleet. The most recent is a $1 million dollar Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No-Emission (called “Low-No”) grant to augment the transit fleet with electric vehicles.
Gainesville was one of three cities in Florida to receive the grant, joining Broward County and Pinellas-Suncoast Transit Authority. All three will use the grant to purchase battery electric buses and charging stations. Under the competitive grant formally announced Friday, August 24, RTS will purchase a 40-foot long, fully electric bus and charging station.
“The funding from the federal government will allow the city to revision its mobility services that it provides to the community,” said Anthony Lyons, City of Gainesville City Manager. “The funding will make RTS more user friendly, safer and environmentally conscience. This will be done by implementing items such as mobile payment systems, on-board wifi, and the incorporation of more environmentally friendly electric buses.”
This isn’t the first time the city has received a grant from the FTA for low-emission buses. In 2017, RTS was awarded a similar $1 million grant to purchase two full-size electric buses and a charging station. The new grant will allow RTS to have a total of three electric buses and two charging stations.
Earlier this year, RTS received an allocation of $2 million (FTA Section 5307 funds) to support a number of projects that will improve bus safety and rider experience. The projects include:
- Upgrades to the on-board voice notifications system allow for better servicing for individuals with sight impairment and surpass current ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines
- Upgrades to fare boxes to allow patrons to pay with a smart card or mobile payment system
- New reverse view security camera upgrades to provide a new way for law enforcement and transit supervisors to view altercations on buses and increase safety
- Addition of 15 new automated passenger counters to assure accurate reporting of ridership numbers, which is tied to federal funding
- Completion of bus radio equipment upgrades to increase safety through reliable two-way communication between the fleet and dispatch
Later this year, in a partnership with the University of Florida, RTS will add wifi to a number of buses as a pilot project. Wifi availability will augment the transit experience and allow commuters to work or play during their travels.
For more information on the FTA Low-No grant awards, visit www.transit.dot.gov/funding.