The riderless testing phase of the new all electric bus at the University of Utah is now complete. Alma Allred, the Executive Director of Commuter Services, says they’ll start shuttling riders for the next testing phase as soon as they get approval to release the federal grant money.
“And it could happen as early as next week. We’ll be letting students, staff, faculty, visitors, ride it for about two hours a day," says Allred. He says,"The service will start at the Heritage Center, in the housing area of the University, go down to the Union and go back and forth.”
Allred says the bus can be charged through a wireless induction system called WAVE, or Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification, developed at Utah State University. He says construction of the planned road through the center of campus by the Utah Department of Transportation has not gone quite as well as getting the bus up and running.
“There are contracts that have to be agreed to between our legal department and the UDOT and we have to be careful that we don’t lose any of our autonomy by agreeing to what a lot of people would like us to agree to,” says Allred.
He says the University is very committed to getting the road through campus completed so the electric shuttle can run as intended. Allred says there are also plans to expand the fleet with another five, or six buses as older diesel shuttles are replaced.
NOTE: The headline and text has been edited from the original posting for accuracy related to testing phases of electric shuttle.