The zero-emissions bus was brought to Washington to promote the use of clean alternative fuel vehicles.
The hydrogen fuel bus was brought to Washington from Ohio by Kirt Conrad, the chief executive of the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA). Conrad is promoting the vehicles as a clean and quieter alternative to dirtier and louder diesel buses, which are currently used by most cities and suburbs across the United States.
The hydrogen bus is one of more than 60 currently in use in the US.
The bright blue bus that was taken to Washington for a visit, is one of over 60 hydrogen fuel buses in operation as part of public transit agencies in the United States.
These buses are fueled by a chemical process that turns hydrogen and oxygen into electrons and water. The buses’ engines run on the electrons, while the water trickles out of the tailpipe, leaving no emissions behind.
The purpose of the roadshow is to build a market for vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, especially vehicles used for public transit.
Conrad and other representatives from the bus and fuel cell manufacturers met with regional transport officials, including Metro, Fairfax Connector, and Alexandria DASH.
SARTA plans to have 18 hydrogen fuel buses on the road by the end of 2019.
SARTA received over $4 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration in 2016 and plans to have 18 buses on the road by the end of this year. Conrad said that among these buses will be the first hydrogen-powered paratransit bus.
Conrad noted that his passengers who have become accustomed to using compressed natural gas, from drivers to mechanics, don’t notice much difference in how the bus drives, but what they do notice is the quiet ride.
“The funny thing is that passengers get used to the diesel noise. The first time you ride one of these, everybody whispers,” Conrad told the Washington Post.
The SARTA hydrogen bus fleet serves the area around Canton and operates in partnership with Ohio State University on the school’s campus. It is presently the third largest hydrogen fuel bus fleet in the country.