Greenlink to deploy Proterra buses

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Greenville’s bus service, Greenlink, is getting ready to deploy Proterra buses for the first time – more than seven years after the battery-powered bus maker moved to Greenville as a startup company.

Separately, Clemson’s bus service, CATbus, will acquire two more Proterra buses for use in Seneca, on top of the six it already operates there and 10 others it just bought to serve the Clemson University campus.

In both cases, the bus services are using grants of $1.45 million each from the Federal Transit Administration that were announced Sept. 15.

The grants are part of $55 million awarded to fund 51 projects across the country as part of a program to promote low-emission or no-emission vehicles.

Proterra will receive at least half of the total and maybe more, said Steven Brewster, a spokesman for the California-based company whose East Coast hub and busiest factory is along Interstate 85 in Greenville.

Gary Shepard, Greenlink’s transportation director, said it intends to use its federal grant to buy two zero-emission buses made by Proterra in Greenville, as well as charging equipment. He said Greenlink would also use $300,000 previously allocated by the state Legislature for the purchase.

Shepard said he didn’t know when Proterra would be able to deliver the buses and hasn’t decided which routes they’d be deployed on. He hopes that at least half of Greenlink’s buses – currently 19 diesel-powered vehicles – eventually would use alternative fuel, either batteries or compressed natural gas.

Keith Moody, interim general manager of CATbus, said it would use the two additional Proterra buses to expand service but he could not yet say where.

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