April 18, 2021. In celebration of Earth Day, EMBARK unveiled its new clean natural gas facility along with the state’s first electric fixed-route bus and charging stations that will serve Central Oklahoma residents. The day’s event displayed the public transit system’s continued investment in transit options that make the community healthier.
EMBARK’s investment into alternative-fueled vehicles and operating facilities began in 2016 when a plan was approved by the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) – EMBARK’s governing body – to replace its entire bus fleet with compressed natural gas (CNG) or electric buses by 2025. Since then, EMBARK has added 21 CNG-fueled buses to its fleet: six through a Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) grant, plans for eight more through a federal sustainability grant from the FTA, and has been awarded five additional grants for sustainability efforts.
“This Earth Day represents a milestone for public transit in Oklahoma,” said Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK Administrator. “With CNG driving our sustainability efforts in transit, it’s crucial our infrastructure also supports the use of alternative fuels. COTPA’s bold vision guides our efforts of offering transportation services that help improve our community’s air quality.”
Currently, EMBARK’s fleet includes two hybrid electric buses, 21 CNG buses, three CNG paratransit vehicles, seven modern electric streetcars, and a bike-share fleet. EMBARK’s upcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system launching in late 2023 also plans to use CNG vehicles. The electric bus unveiled today is Oklahoma’s first fully electric fixed-route bus to be used in public transit.