May 30, 2022

Trinity Metro to introduce improved electric bus connection between downtown and Alliance

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Trinity Metro is purchasing eight new electric buses to connect Fort Worth to the rapidly expanding Alliance development on the city’s northern edge, offering a new way to connect employees to workplaces. 

The $13 million purchase of new buses is part of Trinity Metro’s first sustainability plan and will offer riders a “higher quality” transportation option within the next 24 months.

Paul Ballard, interim president and CEO of Trinity Metro, said the agency has always worked to be “ahead of the curve on alternative fuels” and this future purchase will build on that. The first electric buses were purchased three years ago and are now used for The DASH Route that runs between downtown and the Cultural District. 

“We’re calling it guaranteed transit because of the timeliness… It focuses on meeting schedules and getting people to and from work so that they’re at work on time,” Ballard said. 

Tito Rodriguez, vice-chair of the Trinity Metro board of directors, said this new initiative will help connect people to the many businesses and employers up in Alliance, including FedEx, UPS, Amazon and several warehouses. 

AllianceTexas is home to over 550 companies and has generated over 63,000 direct jobs. 

“It gives those individuals an opportunity for new employment opportunities and education,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to  be state of the art.”

The route will go from the Dunkins Transfer Center in east Fort Worth, up to the North Park-n-Ride lot in Alliance — with a stop at Central Station in downtown. These new electric buses will drive in the express lanes to ensure timely arrival.

If the buses don’t have a timely arrival the North Central Texas Council of Governments will reimburse the fares. The Council of Governments will also set up a separate fund to cover those costs. 

Ballard said Michael Morris, director of transportation for the council, came up with the reimbursement portion of the project. 

“His feeling was, why not let bus passengers use the express lane and get the benefit of what he calls guaranteed transit,” Ballard said. 

The addition of new electric buses is estimated to cost $13 million, including the charging stations and required maintenance equipment. Funding will use federal dollars from the Council of Governments and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program. This program provides funds for transportation projects that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, particularly in areas that do not attain national air quality standards.

Trinity Metro already has a route between the Park and Ride in Alliance and downtown known as Route 63X. Once the new electric buses are in and operating, Route 63X will be replaced. 

This new electric-bus route will also run seven days a week instead of five days. 

“It’s a really cool approach to perhaps equalizing the playing field for people who use transit and people who drive their cars. I’m pretty excited about it, I think it’s gonna be very successful,” Ballard said.