The Sun Trolley and the City of Fort Lauderdale are exploring alternative fuel options as they prepare to purchase a new fleet with funding from the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization transferred to the Federal Transit Administration. As part of their research, they will be continuing the testing of an electric bus and two propane-fueled vehicles that were first introduced in August 2019.
The electric bus, which seats 22 passengers with additional standing room, will provide free service on select Sun Trolley routes through Sunday, November 10, 2019. The propane buses hold up to 20 seated passengers and will continue to operate on the Sun Trolley Neighborhood Link. The propane vehicles are being leased to the City of Fort Lauderdale by Broward County as part of its Community Shuttle Service program, and the electric vehicle is on loan from an electric vehicle manufacturer.
"We are testing the capability of propane and electric buses for fuel efficiency, operational capacity, and public acceptance as we get ready to build our new fleet," said Robyn Chiarelli, Executive Director of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (TMA), which manages the five Sun Trolley routes.
The results from the City of Fort Lauderdale's 2018 neighbor survey identified "preparing for the future" as a top priority among residents, with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Another result of the survey was the development of a plan to increase traffic flow in downtown Fort Lauderdale. "Sustainability and efficiency are key to helping residents and visitors alike move freely through the City. These trials will help identify the best way to optimize the Sun Trolley fleet and bring us closer to our goal of being a connected, multimodal city," said City of Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom.
"With approximately 25,000 passengers per month, the Sun Trolley continues to be a vital component to the public transportation system in greater Fort Lauderdale, and we want to ensure our new fleet will be environmentally sustainable for years to come," said Greg Stuart, TMA Board Chair.
These buses are the first in a series of alternative fuel vehicles that will be tested throughout the City. A survey is being distributed to obtain feedback from passengers on reliability, comfort, and overall satisfaction.
To locate the route for the electric bus, and track all trolleys in real-time, passengers can download the free Trolley Tracker App on their Apple or Android device or call (954)-TROLLEY.