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CityLink plans to add up to 5 additional electric buses to its fleet

CityLink plans to use a new $5.3 million grant from the state's Rebuild Illinois capital program to purchase some new electric buses to add to the fleet.

CityLink general manager Doug Roelfs said there are currently three in service. At a price of about $1 million per bus, he guesses the state money might be enough to buy five additional buses.

So far, he said the electric buses are working out for CityLink.

"I think they're meeting the expectations. We didn't have a real cold winter. We thought that we'd see some drop off on that. But they're really performing like it advertised. So we're happy," he said.

He said CityLink currently has three charging stations, with an option to build out to six. Those charging stations have presented the biggest problems so far, but Roelfs said he's confident those issues will be resolved soon.

Washington CityLift pilot project extended for another year

A six-month pilot project allowing Washington adults with disabilities catch a ride on a CityLift bus will continue for another year.

Roelfs said there's a definite need for the service in Washington, and demand is starting to grow.

"There's been a kind of a disconnect from them getting to East Peoria, Peoria for medical appointments or other appointments. And so they could kind of get around the area a little bit, but they really couldn't get beyond that. And so we've kind of broken down that barrier," he said.

Roelfs said there are talks about expanding additional services to Washington, and also providing transportation services geared towards the construction industry and manufacturing in Morton.

Roelfs said there is interest from other communities, as well, but securing funding is key. He said the city of Washington and Washington Township have made the difference by stepping up and putting money on the table to help make the pilot project successful.

Roelfs said CityLink is also eyeing microtransit options for the community, to serve areas which aren't covered by a fixed route service. That's essentially a "dial-a-ride" service using smaller vehicles to shuttle passengers around.

"We're just trying to find vehicles or people to run it right now. So we were going to put a grant out for a vendor. We'll see how that comes back," Roelfs said.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.