Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) celebrated National Hydrogen & Fuel Cell day by taking its hydrogen fuel cell bus on a tour of Stark County and distributing free All-Day bus passes to riders.
"People were excited and curious about the bus," SARTA CEO Kirt Conrad said. "We turned heads as we drove around and whenever we stopped people asked a wide variety of questions about fuel cells in general and the vehicle in particular. Everyone we spoke to was genuinely impressed with the bus's performance, capabilities, and environmental impact."
Conrad said he was glad Stark County residents were able to view the bus before it returns to Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research (CAR) where it is undergoing rigorous testing. The bus will join SARTA's fleet and begin regular service when testing is complete in mid-2017. In all, SARTA will acquire a total of 10 hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses by the end of 2018. When all the vehicles are in service SARTA will become the third largest operator of fuel cell buses in the United States and the largest outside California. The buses and a new hydrogen fueling station located at SARTA's Gateway Avenue headquarters were paid for with millions of dollars in state and federal grants.
Along with being impressed by the bus, riders were pleased with the All-Day pass giveaway. "The new bus is nice and I look forward to riding it," one person remarked. And I really appreciate the pass. It came right on time because I didn't know how I was going to get to work tomorrow," one rider said.
A rider from Alliance said the bus is "cool." "We are lucky SARTA has brought this technology to Stark County. I can't wait to see these on routes."