Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tomorrow, June 22: Tell PSTA: Start the Switch Now to Clean, Quiet Zero Emission Electric Buses!

PSTA Votes Wednesday Morning on Electric Buses

PSTA (the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) votes Wednesday June 22 on whether to buy new diesel buses or new zero emission electric buses. Sierra Club and the Tampa Bay Zero Emission Coalition support the addition of zero emission electric buses to PSTA’s fleet. 

What you can do right now to help:
  • Sign the community petition to PSTA to ask them to start making the switch this year to zero emission electric buses. 
  • Attend PSTA’s June 22 Board of Directors meeting and tell them face to face to make the switch to electric buses this year. Wear red to help tell PSTA to STOP Polluting Pinellas with toxic diesel emissions. The Board will vote on its 2016 bus purchase at its 9:00 am meeting. PSTA is at 3201 Scherer Drive, St. Petersburg, 33716 – behind the St. Petersburg Clearwater Marriott on Roosevelt.
  • If you represent a business or community organization, join the Tampa Bay Zero Emission Coalition by signing our community letter to PSTA asking it to start making the switch now to zero emission electric buses. Email phil.compton@sierraclub.org for the letter. Thanks to the 39 local businesses, neighborhood associations and organizations who have joined the Coalition. 
  • Call and email PSTA board members today and ask them directly yourself to make the switch this year to zero emission electric buses. You can find contact information for all 15 board members at  http://www.psta.net/boardofdirectors.php
  • And after the June 22 Board meeting: Tell the County Commission to help PSTA make the switch with funding from the BP oil disaster settlement for electric bus charging infrastructure, a one-time cost that can make it possible for PSTA to run up to 9 electric buses in downtown St. Pete that would all take turns charging at the same centrally located station.  http://www.pinellascounty.org/bpideas/
Why make the switch to electric buses?
They provide a totally different experience for riders: clean, quiet and safe. Passengers find they can carry on a conversation, and neighbors don't hear or smell them as they go by. No more toxic diesel soot! 

They help preserve Pinellas County's future as they cut net greenhouse gas emissions by 75%, even including today’s sources of electricity, coal and natural gas: 270,000 pounds of carbon/year compared to diesel or natural gas. Over the 12 year life of an electric bus, their overall net pollution will decline towards zero as utilities like Duke Energy add more solar power to their grid.

They slash fuel and maintenance cost, giving them the lowest overall cost of ownership of
any bus. As with any electric vehicle, there’s far less to maintain, so PSTA staff will be more certain they’re keeping all buses in the fleet running safely at all times.

And they reduce the demand for oil that today drives oil companies to continue to push to drill for oil off Florida’s beaches, both the Gulf and the Atlantic. The surest way to end the push for offshore drilling is to reduce our demand for oil. Electric buses never use any oil, period.

What is an electric bus? A bus that, rather than run on diesel or compressed natural gas, uses electricity to power a battery. This means no gasoline, no dirty oil changes, no internal combustion engine, no dirty diesel exhaust, and no greenhouse gas emissions.  They charge up in anywhere between five and 360 minutes and go between 30 and 195 miles between charges, depending on the model.

Zero emission buses already provide a clean and quiet way to get around in noisy cities like:
  1. Worcester, MA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. New York City
  4. Transit systems in Los Angeles area, including Antelope Valley, Palm Springs.
  5. Tallahassee, FL
  6. Philadelphia, PA
  7. Dallas, TX
  8. San Antonio, Texas
  9. Louisville, KY
  10. Lexington, KY
  11. Nashville, TN
  12. Seneca/Clemson, SC
  13. Duluth, MN
  14. And the University of Montana in Missoula. 
  15. As well as cities all over the world, including China, where 170,000 electric buses are fighting smog and climate change today. 

Thanks for asking PSTA to start making the switch now to clean, quiet, safe electric buses. New buses, either polluting diesels or pollution-free electrics, will be on our streets until the 2030s. Let's make the right choice for our future now! 

For more information, contact Sierra Club’s Florida Healthy Air Campaign at 727-824-8813, ext. 303, or email phil.compton@sierraclub.org

Phil Compton, Senior Organizing Representative
Sierra Club National Beyond Oil / Florida Healthy Air Campaign Lead Organizer
1990 Central Avenue    St. Petersburg, FL 33712       727-824-8813, ext. 303    

Find out more about how you can help make our air healthier to breathe at