Ten new TARC buses with updated technology hit Louisville area roads on Tuesday, part of the roll out of a four-year, $30-million initiative to improve public transportation.
The new buses will service TARC’s two routes crossing the Ohio River. They’re replacing buses that have traveled more than 500,000 miles—and 11 more buses are expected to roll out in October, on cross-river routes and on express routes.
The 21 new buses will have free WiFi, power charging stations for mobile devices and overhead storage. TARC paid $9.5 million for them.
TARC’s four-year plan is being called eTran—for enhanced Transit. The plans includes an all-electric fleet working downtown Louisville and an electronic fare system through which passengers could pay by tapping a “smartcard.” The idea is to improve bus stops, adjust routes, improve communication and to reduce the bus fleet’s environmental impact, TARC said.
Most of the funding for the initiative is coming from $20 million from Kentucky and Indiana transportation agencies through the Ohio River Bridges Project.
In a statement, TARC Executive Director Barry Barker said the eTran initiative will help the agency through the construction—and the ensuing traffic issues—of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
“After the bridges construction is complete, the riding public will benefit from these investments for years to come,” Barker said.