SARTA’s ‘Borrow a Bus Zero-Emissions Tour’ Embarks on Week-Long, Eight-Stop Swing Through California

RIVERSIDE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After being sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority’s (SARTA) award-winning Borrow a Bus (BaB) Zero-Emissions Tour resumes on Thursday, June 4, 2021, when one of the transit authority’s state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell-powered (HFC) buses begins a week-long eight-stop swing through the state of California.

“Most Americans, including policy-makers and the media, don’t know what fuel cells are or how they work”

The Borrow a Bus program is supported by ElDorado National California (ENC®), the industry leader in rightsized heavy-duty transit buses. The hydrogen fueled ENC AXESS FC® never needs gas and only water is emitted from the tailpipe. It is also the only hydrogen bus in the industry that is federally certified for 3-point seat belts. The company, which built the SARTA bus being used on the BaB tour, will provide free technical support and fuel for the vehicle during the California swing. The tour is also being underwritten by Creative Bus Sales, BAE Systems which manufactures the vehicle’s propulsion system, and Ballard Power Systems the firm that produces the bus’s hydrogen fuel cell.

SARTA CEO Kirt Conrad, who manages one of the nation’s largest fleets of HFC transit vehicles created Borrow a Bus to raise awareness about and generate support for the innovative zero-emission technology. “Most Americans, including policy-makers and the media, don’t know what fuel cells are or how they work,” Mr. Conrad said. “Giving people across the country the opportunity to see, learn about, and operate a hydrogen fuel cell bus on their roads and highways is the most effective way to demonstrate that HFCs have the potential to totally transform the way vehicles are powered in the U.S. and around the world.”

Along with looking under the hood and kicking the tires, transit managers will be able to review hundreds of thousands of miles worth of real-world data SARTA has collected while operating HFC buses on the streets of Stark County in every weather condition imaginable over the past ten years.

“That data provides clear and convincing evidence that HFC buses deliver much greater range than battery electrics, are both more reliable and affordable to operate, remove tons of pollutants from the air, and, perhaps most importantly from an operational standpoint, take only minutes to refuel,” he continued. “All of which leads to the obvious conclusion that hydrogen is the best alternative fuel solution available in the transportation space,” Mr. Conrad said.

"Borrow a Bus ensures that fuel cells will be a prominent part of the renewable energy conversation as the drive to electrify transportation in the U.S. and the world gains momentum,” Mr. Conrad said. “To date, that conversation has been dominated by the plug-in electric sector. But as more and more people get a close-up look at HFCs and begin comparing performance data, hydrogen is gaining traction because the vehicles offer the efficiency, range, operational capabilities, and rider experience transit professionals are seeking as they strive to achieve their zero-emission goals.”

The week-long BaB California tour includes these stops:

Friday, June 4
10:00 A.M.: Victor Valley Transit Authority, 17150 Smoke Tree St. HesperiaCalifornia

Monday, June 7
10:00 A.M.: San Joaquin Regional Transit District, 421 East Weber Avenue, Stockton, CA
2:00 P.M.: Modesto Regional Transit District at Storer Transportation, 3519 McDonald Ave., Modesto, CA

Tuesday, June 8
10:00 A.M.: SamTrans, 301 North Access Road, South San Francisco, CA
2:00 P.M.: Central Contra Costa Transit, 2477 Arnold Industrial Way, Concord, CA

Wednesday, June 9
9:00 A.M.: Sacramento Regional Transit District, 1400 29th St., Sacramento, CA
2:00 P.M.: Yuba Sutter Transit, 2100 B Street, Marysville, CA

Thursday June 10
10:00 A.M.—3:30 P.M. Redding Area Bus Authority, 3333 S. Market Street, Redding, CA

Media interview opportunities will be provided during the tour. To schedule an interview please contact Timothy Montgomery at 330-477-2782 x570 or email tmontgomery@sartaonline.com

Since making its first trip to the Central Midlands Transit Authority in Columbia, South Carolina in 2019, the BaB tour has visited Washington, D.C., Alexandria, VA., Chicago, Il, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, Fl, Lansing, MI, and New Brunswick, NJ. Along with garnering extensive media coverage at each tour stop, the unique and highly popular promotion earned Calstart’s prestigious Blue Sky Award in 2020.

Canton, Ohio-based SARTA provides a compelling chapter in the fuel cell story. The relatively small public transit agency operates one the largest fleets of hydrogen fuel cell-powered transit vehicles in the U.S. and the world. “What began as an effort to achieve our goal of operating an emissions-free transit system has evolved into a multi-faceted campaign to revolutionize private, commercial, and public transportation in the U.S. and across the world,” Mr. Conrad said. “Education is a key component of that campaign and Borrow a Bus is a great educational tool.”

About the stark area regional transit authority (SARTA)

SARTA is an international leader in the development and deployment of zero emission technology in the transportation space. The Canton, Ohio-based transit system which owns and operates one of the largest fleets of hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses in the Western Hemisphere has received Calstart’s prestigious Blue Sky Award and numerous other honors for its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and renewable energy. To learn more about SARTA’s hydrogen fuel cell program visit https://www.sartaonline.com/hydrogen-fuel-cell

About ElDorado National California

ElDorado National California (ENC®), a subsidiary of REV Group, has manufactured low floor and standard floor buses for over 45 years to public transit/paratransit, airport, parking and university transportation markets. ENC is best known in the industry for its customizable options including thousands of floorplan configurations, as well as ensuring unparalleled manufacturing and safety standards. All ENC models pass a comprehensive battery of durability and crash tests. ENC manufactures the greenest buses in the industry including the Zero Emissions, hydrogen-powered Axess-Fuel Cell as well as the 100% battery electric Axess. All buses are crafted in the state-of-the-art 227,000 square-foot, ISO 9001 certified production facility in Riverside, California.

About Creative Bus Sales

Creative Bus Sales has been the nation’s largest bus dealer since 1980. The Company is headquartered in Chino, CA and has 17 locations nationwide. Creative Bus Sales represents over 20 top manufacturers and an extensive portfolio of industry-leading vehicles serving the transit and retail markets. With a dedicated nationwide network of Parts, Service, Warranty, and Customer Care Teams, as well as in-house financing, the Company continues to provide superior solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of our marketplace.

About Ballard Power Systems

Ballard Power Systems’ (NASDAQ: BLDP; TSX: BLDP) vision is to deliver fuel cell power for a sustainable planet. Ballard zero-emission PEM fuel cells are enabling electrification of mobility, including buses, commercial trucks, trains, marine vessels, passenger cars and forklift trucks. To learn more about Ballard, please visit www.ballard.com.