ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – At their meeting Wednesday, Pace’s Board of Directors continued the agency’s push towards a more sustainable transportation system. Executive Director Melinda J. Metzger announced that the agency’s first electric vehicle, a leased GILLIG Battery Electric Bus, will be delivered in early May so Pace can gain operational and maintenance experience.
Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski was pleased that the news came only a month after the Pace board’s March decision to procure 20 Proterra buses, which will enter Pace’s fleet in 2023. This fast pace will be necessary to convert Pace’s entire fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2040, as called for by the agency’s Driving Innovation strategic vision plan. “While converting our fleet of more than 700 buses to zero emissions is going to be a logistical challenge, it’s also the right thing to do,” Kwasneski said. “Our region needs this, and frankly, our planet needs this. Everyone is going to need to step up in these coming years to imagine a more sustainable way of life.”
Six of the agency’s first electric vehicles are destined for Pace’s North Division garage in Waukegan, and Pace’s Board was updated on recent site visits by staff and consultants involved in the fleet’s conversion. “The diverse communities and geography of the Waukegan area make Pace’s North Division an ideal location for Pace’s first electric transition,” said Linda Soto, who represents Lake County on Pace’s Board of Directors. “I am proud Pace is able to step up with such a large and impactful investment in Lake County.”
On Thursday, Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger reported to the board of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) on Pace’s progress towards its zero-emission goal. “Pace is being very strategic and thoughtful in our efforts with the understanding that we might need to be flexible enough to adapt to any changes in vehicle technology or other unforeseen circumstances, while also ensuring that we keep bus service in place for riders who depend on it,” said Metzger. The public can watch her presentation to the RTA here or see Pace’s April board meeting here.
Find out more about Pace’s positive impact on the environment, its steps to confront the climate crisis, and its transition to a zero-emission fleet at PaceBus.com/zero.