RTD general manager welcomes ZEB Conference attendees
Hundreds of people from around the world converged in Denver this week for the 2021 International Zero Emission Bus Conference, providing an opportunity for professionals to learn from one another in their fleet electrification efforts. RTD staff provided a tour of the agency’s Free MallRide shuttle operations, with these 36 vehicles constituting one of the largest zero-emission, battery electric-powered fleets in the United States.
General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson welcomed conference attendees to the Mile High City on Thursday, encouraging them to hop on the MallRide vehicles while navigating downtown. She noted that RTD over the next two years is planning to add 17 electric buses to its fleet on some fixed routes. Additionally, as part of the Reimagine RTD process, the agency is exploring possibilities for converting its existing fixed route bus fleet to battery electric buses.
“We recognize that this is a large undertaking, when we consider the logistics of such a deployment, including bus range per charge, block length, charging locations, facilities and the ability of our utility partner, Xcel Energy, to provide power for charging,” Johnson said. “I say often you cannot spell ‘challenge’ – literally and figuratively – without the word ‘change.’ So trust and believe, we are up for the challenge. RTD is rising to the occasion by helping to meet the state goal of 1,000 electric buses by 2030.”
Johnson referenced the five-year strategic plan that RTD’s Board of Directors adopted last month, noting that community value is the first of its four strategic priorities. “RTD strives to be a community partner, providing value to customers as well as to the broader Denver metro region while sustaining planet earth,” she said. “This is reflective of the region’s passion for environmental stewardship, and RTD is committed to its role in providing options for individuals and employers to reduce their carbon footprint.”