Austin, TX Proterra Bus failure (same company is contracted to provide electric buses to Albuquerque)

A few months ago we reported in this space about problems the bankrupt  Proterra electric bus company is having in providing parts to a bus service in Wyoming. We noted that Albuquerque is contracted to receive electric buses from the same company.

Now, we have this story which finds that Austin, TX is having similar issues

Here are a few items from the story, “The transit agency’s battery-powered buses have been less reliable and harder to fix.” Furthermore,

Capital Metro suggests in its filing that Proterra’s sale of its transit business may be attempting to cut off potential warranty claims for buses, batteries, chargers and other items. Those warranties have been crucial for fixing the vehicles.

“The reliability of electric buses no matter the manufacturer is less than a diesel bus. I’m not going to tell you they operate as well as diesel bus,” Capital Metro Chief Operating Officer Andrew Skabowski told KUT. “We’re going to see some vehicles that are down a little bit longer than a diesel bus.”

“On average, half of the first lot of Proterra buses and about one-third of the second lot are out of service at any given time,” Broward County, FL (another Proterra customer) Attorney Andrew J. Meyers wrote in a filing.

Even if Austin’s Capital Metro could get out of its contract to buy the 40 Proterra buses, it would still leave the transit agency in a difficult position because of the parts, software and other support needed to keep the buses operating.

“They provide excellent service,” Skabowski said of Proterra. But he said the problems with electric buses might force the agency to keep diesel vehicles around longer.

Is the City of Albuquerque continuing to buy buses from Proterra? If so, why?

A blue Proterra ZX5 bus. The bus is seen driving down the road wrapped in a sign that says, "Battery electric." A city skyline is in the background.

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3 Replies to “Austin, TX Proterra Bus failure (same company is contracted to provide electric buses to Albuquerque)”

  1. No definitely not. The Albuquerque bus’s system is a joke and one of the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars. I see busses everywhere with no one on the buss so tax a money is subsidizing the the system. I see buses idling at the VA Hospital for hours and leave empty. Now some educated mayor bought 5 million $ electric one that does work. Every may has to have a rediculis project to get kick back money before he’s voted out of office.

  2. We just have to wait until the quality of electric buses improves, which it will. If there are better quality electric buses out there the city made a bad decision. But I suspect even a perfect electric bus would be found wanting by the Rio Grande Foundation, because they are all about more oil and more pollution and more money for the oil companies. But I must add that even the oil companies are smarter than the Rio Grande Foundation because they understand the necessity to diversify and they are doing so.

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