Award presented as Pace Board of Directors approves electric car charging infrastructure at nine locations
Pace was honored today with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Regional Resilience Award for the agency’s Project Zero initiative. CMAP Executive Director Erin Aleman presented the award to Pace at the agency’s April 2023 Board of Directors meeting. Project Zero is Pace’s commitment to operating a zero-emission fleet by 2040.
“Project Zero was a major step forward that we all took together,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger. She also noted that “Pace’s North Division in Waukegan will be the first garage to be converted to a fully electric fleet. This decision was based on environmental concerns and our ongoing work to create an innovative, equitable, and efficient transportation network for those we serve. Electrification will make an impact in the Waukegan area where a high percentage of riders are low-income, minorities, or from otherwise underserved groups.”
Project Zero began with the delivery of Pace’s first electric bus in 2022 and the completion of the agency’s fleet transition plan. Twenty more buses are scheduled for delivery later this year as Pace develops its facility transition plan and begins work on a network revitalization plan.
Today’s meeting also saw the approval of several ordinances, including a contract for the purchase and installation of electric car charging stations to be implemented at nine Pace locations including park-n-ride lots that support bus on shoulder service along I-55 and I-90. Each location will have two charging stations with dual dispensers capable of charging up to 4 vehicles.
The Pace Board also voted to approve ordinances authorizing the permanent implementation of two innovative service changes launched during the Covid-19 pandemic to better meet the needs of Pace passengers. These changes, which have been in place on a pilot basis, include the expansion of the Naperville-Aurora On Demand service area and a new part-time Vanpool fare structure. Six public hearings were held the week of March 20 and both pilots received positive feedback.
In her report to the Board, Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger shared several positive updates, including progress on the agency’s recruitment efforts and continued ridership growth. The agency will host four more Hire-on-the-Spot events over the next six weeks, including one for Pace’s Heritage Division in Plainfield (Thursday, April 20, 10am-2pm) and one for Pace’s Northwest Division in Des Plaines (Tuesday, April 25, 10am-2pm).
In addition to bi-monthly Hire-on-the-Spot events around the region and partnerships with local colleges to train the next generation of professional bus operators, beginning April 27 the agency will host weekly Hire-on-the-Spot events at Pace’s headquarters in Arlington Heights (550 W. Algonquin Road) every Thursday at 9:30am and 1pm for candidates interested in positions at Pace’s Northwest Division. Job seekers will be able to apply and get interviewed at these events. More information about Pace’s hiring events can be found at PaceBus.com/careers.
Metzger also shared that for March 2023, Pace ridership increased 4% from March 2022 with the system carrying just over 1.6 million riders. The Pace system continues to experience a steady increase in ridership and the agency’s cost-saving and efficient partnerships with transportation network companies (TNCs) continue to successfully augment paratransit service with UZURV and Uber providing more than 6000 trips in March.
The Pace Board of Directors meets monthly in Arlington Heights, typically on the third Wednesday of each month at 9:30am. The Board's schedule, along with agendas, minutes, and video recordings, can be found on the Public Meetings page at PaceBus.com, and meetings are streamed live at PaceBus.com/Streaming.