PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - When you make your way into Park City for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, you might notice a change on the roads. Park City Transit and Proterra, a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission electric buses, unveiled their new Electric Express Buses today that will help ease traffic congestion.
Starting in June, six state-of-the-art Proterra Catalyst electric buses will provide rapid service from Kimball Junction to the Old Town Transit Center, along State Road 224.
"This new route will hopefully increase our ridership of up to 38 percent and will decrease costs of almost 16 percent per passenger," said Becca Gerber, Park City Council, during Tuesday's Electric Express press conference.
State Road 224 is the ideal location to launch this fleet of buses because with multiple ski resorts in the area and the high demand of people, comes a high amount of diesel fuel being released into the air, and the new electric buses don't just reduce that pollution, they eliminate it.
"Going to zero emission vehicles, especially when you eliminate diesel, is probably the most important thing you can do," explained Ryan Popple, CEO, Proterra. "The one piece of technology I can't show you on this vehicle is the exhaust system. Zero local emission and with Park City targeting 100 percent renewable energy-- it's zero carbon emission from cradle to grave, or whale to wheel."
"If a small town chooses to make efforts to be more sustainable and engage the community of a more responsible basis, make plans that are more consistent with the health of our children and their children, that message then cascades to a broader critical mass of people in other communities," expressed Jack Thomas, Mayor, Park City.
With the goal of becoming completely carbon-neutral by 2032, Park City is America's first ever mountain resort community to embrace the economic and environmental benefits of battery-electric buses.
"We can probably generate enough solar energy on one acre of land in Summit County to completely power three of these buses over the course of the year. That should be one of our goals over the next few years," said Glenn Wright, Summit County Council.
"I think you (Park City) should challenge yourself. When are you going to get to 100 percent zero emission fleet and when are you going to power it with 100 percent renewable energy? I think you could be the first," Popple said. "The energy consumption of Park City, Utah, probably doesn't move the needle, but it sets a really important example. And if cities like Salt Lake City and Denver start moving, then the western states start moving their footprint."
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