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EMBARK Marks Earth Day 2023 with Free Transit, Progress on Converting Bus Fleet to Alternative Fuel

April 20, 2023

EMBARK is inviting Oklahoma City to step up for lower emissions and cleaner air with free public transit service on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) Board of Trustees has approved a slate of fare free days, including holidays and electionsto promote transit use during the summer, when hotter ground temperatures and sunlight react with carbon emissions to produce higher ozone pollution. 

These fare free days include all EMBARK bus routes, the OKC Streetcar, and Zone 1 and Zone 1a ADA paratransit.  A full list of fare free days in 2023, including Third Fridays Free, can be found at 

Thanks to the vision of the COTPA Board, we’re very proud to offer free public transit on Earth Day to encourage residents and visitors to travel in a more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient way,” EMBARK Director/Administrator and Assistant City Manager Jason Ferbrache said. “Choosing public transit over driving means fewer cars on our streets, which means cleaner air for all of us to breathe.”   

Vehicle tailpipe emissions are a primary contributor to air pollution in the United States. Each EMBARK bus has the potential to take 35 vehicles off the road. The American Public Transportation Association reports that, for every mile traveled on public transit, a passenger will produce 95% less carbon dioxide than by driving. 

EMBARK is also making progress on an initiative to make its own fleet more efficient and environmentally-friendly. More than half of its fleet of fixed-route buses in Oklahoma City is powered by alternative fuel, and the agency is in the process of transitioning the rest of its fleet to more efficient vehicles powered by cleaner fuels, like compressed natural gas (CNG) in the coming years.  

Currently, EMBARK’s fleet of more than 70 buses includes 36 CNG buses, two electric buses, and one hybrid electric bus. Oklahoma City’s first Bus Rapid Transit line – RAPID NW –is set to launch in Fall 2023 and will feature a fleet of nine CNG buses. Compressed natural gas is a near-zero emission fuel, is easier on engine components, and is more economical to operate and maintain.  

In 2022, EMBARK was awarded a nearly $6.8 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase new CNG and electric buses and vans through the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program. This was the largest competitive grant ever awarded to EMBARK for bus replacement. If successful in its application for additional grant funding this year, EMBARK should be able to replace the remaining diesel buses in its fixed-route fleet.  Additionally, the City of Norman was awarded a nearly $900,000 federal grant in 2022 to purchase CNG vehicles for its transit fleet, which is operated by EMBARK. Norman also added two electric buses to its fleet in 2022.  


EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City.  

EMBARK's vision is to be world-class transportation that is accessible to all, and all want to access it. EMBARK's mission is to be a self-sustaining transportation network that removes barriers of location and socioeconomic status, while elevating the status and use of public transportation so all of central Oklahoma can safely and quickly reach their destination. 

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