The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) revealed the two new vehicles Friday morning. The buses will be put into service later this spring, offering a reduced carbon footprint, as well as comfort and safety features, at no cost to passengers.
“We’re making such a transformative difference, and what we’re here to talk about today does that very same thing,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told reporters Friday. “These zero-emission buses are an essential part of our transition to more climate-friendly and sustainable technology. … We’ve launched zero-fare transit in Kansas City, we’ve unveiled our first zero-emission buses, and we’re continuing to make strides each and every day.”
Lucas said the amount of carbon emissions eliminated through the use of these buses over a 12-year span would be the equivalent to taking 27 cars off of the road. The city began offering zero-fare transportation last year, a change Lucas said benefitted essential workers amid the pandemic.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver also spoke during the conference, noting the impact of free transportation and sustainable technology on the city’s economy.
“If we could get a whole fleet of these buses at zero-fare, I think we could put ourselves in a position that no other city can compete with — we’re environmental and a city where people can go to work for free,” Cleaver said. “What CEO around the country is not going to be excited about bringing their company to town when their employees can get free rides to work? This is the kind of thing that separates Kansas City from other places around the country.”
The buses were sponsored by Evergy and sport branded graphics acknowledging the partnership. Kim Winslow, senior director of energy solutions for Evergy, said the buses were the latest advancement in the company’s commitment to promoting electric vehicle use.
“We have seen tremendous growth in electric vehicle adoption across our territory for the last five years. Now, as we expand our focus to electric mass transportation, we are really excited for today’s announcement,” she said. “We congratulate the KCATA for the adoption of these electric buses and are excited for our residents in the community to take advantage of no-emission transportation.”
One bus is set to travel along Metro Area Express (MAX) lines with the other traveling local community routes. They will be supported at new charging stations funded by the city and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).