OKLAHOMA CITY – EMBARK continues to diversify its Oklahoma City bus fleet thanks to a grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Low- or No-Emission Grant Program. This is the second time EMBARK has been awarded funds from the FTA’s Grant Program, and it is one of only 40 projects from around the United States to be selected for 2020.
The program, founded in 2016, prioritizes funding for state and local authorities to purchase or lease low- or zero-emission transit vehicles.
“Sustainability remains one of our primary objectives, as we push toward transitioning our entire bus fleet toward alternative fuels,” said Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK Administrator. “With the continued advancement in vehicle technologies and grant opportunities available, we can make a lasting impact in our community through reduced emissions resulting in cleaner air. To date, over a third of our fixed-route bus fleet is alternative fuel, and that number is growing thanks to grant programs like this and the support of the COTPA Board of Trustees and City Council.”
Currently, EMBARK’s Oklahoma City fleet includes two hybrid electric buses, ￼19 CNG buses, and three CNG paratransit vehicles. The system’s first electric bus is expected to arrive in 2021. Since last August, EMBARK began operating the City of Norman’s eight CNG fixed-route buses and eight CNG paratransit buses.
“The COTPA Board is committed to the use of cleaner fuel alternatives,” adds Ferbrache. “In 2016, they adopted an initiative with the vision of converting the EMBARK fleet to alternative fuel technology by 2025.”
According to the American Public Transportation Association, the average household could save $833 per month by using public transit over owning a personal vehicle. Public transportation also reduces pollution and is more environmentally friendly than single-occupancy vehicles. Beginning in 2013, EMBARK was awarded a TIGER Grant and, since then, has been awarded four additional grants to increase sustainability. Construction just wrapped up on EMBARK’s first CNG fueling facility, which is in use now. In December 2018, EMBARK and the City of Oklahoma City launched the all-electric MAPS 3 OKC Streetcar system in downtown OKC.
In 2019, EMBARK was awarded the 2019 Zach D. Taylor, Jr. Clean Cities Vision Award, honoring transit companies deploying alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technologies.
EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City. EMBARK is responsible for providing safe, efficient, and convenient public transportation and downtown parking solutions to the greater Oklahoma City area.