For the thousands of people who make the 150-mile round trip from Santa Maria to Goleta and Santa Barbara, the only difference they will notice is the quieter ride.
A new Clean Air Express bus replaces the old diesel bus on the commuter route on weekdays, eliminating more than 50 tons of CO2 per year – said Scott Spaulding, Director of Railroads and Transit for Santa Barbara County .
“What is very new to the market is a charter style bus that is battery electric and zero emissions. There are only three operations in the country, we are one of them” , he told KCLU.
The Clean Air Express is a weekday commuter bus service operated by SBCAG and funded by Measure A, the Santa Barbara County Transportation Sales Tax Measure.
It serves residents of Lompoc, Santa Maria, Buellton, Solvang and adjacent unincorporated areas of northern Santa Barbara County commuting to jobs in Goleta and Santa Barbara.
Clean Air Express has a fleet of 17 charter-style buses.
The service is currently operating a reduced schedule due to COVID-19, operating 18 one-way trips each weekday, down from 26 previously.
The Clean Air Express serves an average of 7,000 passengers per month.
The service eliminates more than 400,000 vehicle miles traveled on county roads each month, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.
We will see more of these buses on our local routes in the future as the same model has been ordered for the Ventura County Transport Commission Coastal Express – arriving in about a year.