New green transit centre & electric buses move Bow Valley towards zero emissions goal
Roam Public Transit, the Government of Alberta, the towns of Banff and Canmore and Improvement District 9 (Lake Louise) opened a new transit operations centre today in Banff to enhance service across the Bow Valley, and accelerate down the road towards the goal of zero emissions.
Three new battery electric buses – the first based in Banff National Park – also rolled into service for popular destinations in Banff, including the Banff Gondola (the top destination in the Banff area), Bow Falls, the Banff Springs Hotel, and the Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds, as well as downtown Banff year-round.
“I am very proud of the creation of a robust transit system that started in Banff and is now serving the Bow Valley, and is very much the envy of many much larger communities,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen. “This is the Town of Banff’s most advanced green building project to date, demonstrating our commitment to being a model environmental community that can inspire the world, while providing the most convenient and cost-effective way for residents and visitors to get around Banff and Banff National Park.”
The $8.5 million Roam Transit Operations & Training Centre houses administrative offices, a state-of-the-art driver training simulator, indoor and covered storage for 32 buses, an environmentally responsible wash area and charging stations for the electric buses.
“We are so thankful to the Government of Alberta for providing the lion’s share of the funding to make this facility possible, and for getting these first three electric buses on the road in Banff,” said Sorensen.
The 27,000 square-foot facility has net zero carbon emissions, is fully powered by the largest solar array in Banff and Jasper National Parks, and is heated entirely by the new biomass energy district heating system that turns wood waste into heat energy for four buildings. The super-insulated building does not have a natural gas connection.
“Today is a major milestone for Roam Public Transit and for the Bow Valley,” said Brian Standish, chair of the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission (BVRTSC). “We are making public transit better, our air cleaner, and our communities healthier. We are moving forward on our goals to preserve our world-class national park and mountain towns for years to come.”
The facility constructed by the Town of Banff was purpose-built for Roam Transit, whose buses are famously adorned with wildlife imagery. The new electric buses feature a wolf pack, the snowshoe hare and the pine marten. Roam Transit buses operating from this facility provide services on year-round and seasonal routes funded by the Towns of Banff and Canmore, Improvement District 9 and Parks Canada.
This facility and the first of many electric transit vehicles in the fleet were made possible with Provincial funding through the Green Transit Incentives Program (GreenTRIP). The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, through the Alberta Municipal Solar Program made the solar power system possible.
The facility was built because outdoor storage became no longer adequate for the expanding Roam fleet, currently with 27 buses, including three hybrid electric buses and now its first three fully electric buses.
“Indoor and covered storage will significantly prolong the life of the fleet, especially as Roam Transit moves to electric vehicles,” said Martin Bean, CAO of the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission. “This facility will keep vehicles on the road longer. The electric buses will also require less maintenance, saving money and reducing down time.”
The facility was built by PCL Construction and the solar array installed by Kuby Energy.