Buellton, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) and Caltrans debuted a zero-emission intercity bus today that SBCAG will operate in its Clean Air Express commuter bus service between Santa Maria and Lompoc and employment locations in South Santa Barbara County. The battery electric bus features a 220-mile range, easily meeting the longest Clean Air Express round trip of 150 miles. The purchase was made possible through funding provided by Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, and Measure A, Santa Barbara County’s transportation sales tax measure.
“We know that transportation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” said SBCAG Board of Directors Chair Das Williams. “A switch to cleaner, quieter, and smoother public transit options is a switch in the right direction, one that is imperative for our future – for our children and neighbors. Today we see just how the zero-emission vehicle industry’s evolving technology is changing the game for long-range transportation options improving the efficiency, experience, and commuter benefits to save energy and the environment.”
The Clean Air Express serves more than 7,000 passengers each month with nine weekday round trips. The commuter bus service supports residents of Lompoc, Santa Maria, Buellton, Solvang, and adjacent unincorporated areas in North Santa Barbara County commuting to jobs in Goleta and Santa Barbara.
“Critical SB 1 investments like this help connect communities and reduce environmental impacts from transportation,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Caltrans is committed to doing its part to achieve California’s carbon neutrality goal no later than 2045, and projects like this are an important component of that effort.”
Through a partnership with Central Coast Community Energy, the bus is charged at SBCAG’s Transit Facility in Goleta with 100% renewable electricity.
“All-electric buses serving long-distance commuters are the way forward to cleaner and healthier transportation options for all Californians,” said California State Senator Monique Limón. “I am proud that Santa Barbara County is among the first communities in the nation to provide an all-electric commuter bus as California transitions to zero-emission public transportation vehicles.”
Of the $850,000 cost of the all-electric bus, Caltrans provided $500,000 in SB 1 funds from the State Rail Assistance Program. SB 1 provides $5 billion in transportation funding annually split between the state and local agencies. Road construction and transit projects progress more quickly based on the availability of SB 1 funds, including projects that are partially funded by SB 1. For more information about other transportation projects funded by SB 1, visit RebuildingCA.ca.gov.
The Clean Air Express was created by the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District in 1990 to improve regional air quality by reducing the number of commuters driving alone. SBCAG assumed management of Clean Air Express in 2001 and has since expanded the service by purchasing new buses, adding payment flexibility, installing wireless internet access on all buses, and modernizing the customer’s online experience. The public can access easy-to-read information on the commuter bus service schedules, fares, and simple options to contact customer service by visiting the Clean Air Express website at www.cleanairexpress.com.
ABOUT CLEAN AIR EXPRESS
The Clean Air Express is a weekday commuter bus service operated by SBCAG and funded by Measure A, Santa Barbara County’s Transportation Sales Tax measure. It serves residents of Lompoc, Santa Maria, Buellton, Solvang, and adjacent unincorporated areas in North Santa Barbara County commuting to jobs in Goleta and Santa Barbara. Clean Air Express features a fleet of 17 charter-style buses. The service currently operates a reduced schedule due to COVID-19, operating 18 one-way trips each weekday, down from 26. The Clean Air Express serves an average of 7,000 riders per month. The service eliminates over 400,000 vehicle miles traveled from the County’s roads every month, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.
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