Old vs New
Louisville trolley and a new electric ‘ZeroBus’ replacement. Photo credit: TARC Facebook page.

Five years ago, if you took public transit in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, you might have ridden on a bus that looked like an old-fashioned wooden trolley.

Barry Barker of Louisville’s Transit Authority, or TARC, says that the trolleys were an iconic sight. But they were also a major source of air and carbon pollution.

Barker: “Those had been around long enough that they were now the dirtiest diesel technology that we had.”

So three years ago, with the help of federal, state, and local funding, TARC bought ten all-electric buses to replace the old trolleys.

Each of these zero-emission vehicles costs about twice as much as a diesel bus. But Barker says it’s a positive investment because these buses avoid the health and environmental costs of burning diesel fuel.

”‘The Click To Tweet

Barker: “The all-electric buses enabled us to put a clean technology right where the air quality was the worst, and that’s in downtown Louisville. … We were suddenly part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

The old trolleys were a nostalgic throwback to the past, but the buses that replaced them are an important step into a cleaner future.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...