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Cascades East Transit reimagines ‘mobility hubs, eyes possibility of electric buses down the road

CET takes steps toward renewable fuel energy

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Cascades East Transit is working toward renewable fuel options, so you might see electric buses rolling down High Desert streets one day.

Still very much in the preliminary stages, they agency is doing a feasibility study to evaluate if and how they can transition into using electric buses.

Costs have not yet been determined, but CET Strategic Programs and Partnerships Coordinator Ashley Mohni said Thursday that moving to electric buses is a very big initial investment, and the fleet is already a big-budget item.

Mohni stressed the most important benefit of electric buses is the reduction in service miles, which is a key metric in how they create bus routes.

She said CET is in a transitional period and wants to find more efficient solutions than using fossil fuels. 

“All of our buses leave Hawthorne Station, they go out into the city, and then they come back in," Mohni said. "That creates a much longer route, first of all. The number of service miles someone travels is going to be much longer, and there’s also not a lot of opportunities for folks to make changes at other stations."

She said Pacific Power is funding the Electric Technology Feasibility Study, which will help CET understand how future mobility hubs can support electrification.

“Right now is just a really great time for having these conversations," Mohni said. "There’s a ton of community support about moving forward and moving away from fossil fuels, moving toward these alternative renewable fuel options.”

But one challenge when it comes to electric buses is the long distances the buses travel. Instead of having charging stations at just main hubs, they would need multiple stations- a more costly alternative.

Mohni explained the next step: "Having an implementation plan that will show us exactly what will make the most sense for us, manufacturing-wise, which vehicle would make the most sense for us, exactly what battery? We’re going to get pieces of that there."

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

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