ValleyRide will swap some older gas buses for newer no-emission electric models

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The board of Valley Regional Transit approved the purchase of 12 electric buses for its fleet earlier this month.

Right now, VRT’s ValleyRide service primarily uses buses running on compressed natural gas. That fleet began replacing an older generation of diesel buses nearly 30 years ago.

[Voices: Leaders, citizens discuss future of bus transit funding in Boise]

Now, VRT says, it will bring the first buses powered by the electric grid to Idaho. The agency says the new buses will replace older buses in the fleet.

“Battery-electric buses are better for the environment and offer a better rider experience for our community, and we’re excited to be working with Proterra to bring the first electric buses to Idaho,” VRT Executive Director Kelli Badesheim said.

[Leaders hope massive expansion could increase bus usage 800%]

California-based Proterra said some of the funding for the buses comes from federal grants, and include the buses and charging systems. The company says VRT will actually lease the batteries from Proterra – using money it would otherwise spend on fuel.

The buses should arrive late this year, and start operation early next year.

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