Starting in early 2021, hoping on Twin Transit will be even more environmentally friendly. Complete Coach Works is currently converting two of Twin Transit’s 2004 35′ Gillig buses into electric ZEPS (Zero Emission Propulsion System) buses. This process of remanufacturing old buses into like-new ZEPS all-electric drivetrain systems reduces waste, maximizes resources, and decreases pollution and cost.
When it’s all said and done, Twin Transit will have two completely renovated electric buses on the road.
The purchase was made possible by Volkswagen Settlement and DERA Grant funding and is just another step in Twin Transit’s plans for a more eco-friendly and financially responsible future. By using electric, Twin Transit will decrease emissions, make public transit more affordable, and reduce maintenance and fuel costs. Plus, the electric buses are more pleasant to be around with less vibration and noise and zero exhaust.
Twin Transit is also preparing to break ground on the new Mellen Street e-Transit Station, which will be outfitted with wave induction charging to power the electric buses in-route. This bump charging system will supplement the overnight depot charging previously funded by a TransAlta grant. This dual system extends battery life and makes charging more efficient. When complete, the Mellen Street e-Transit Station will also include electric vehicle charging, bicycle and pedestrian access, and visual enhancements.
The completion of this project represents a significant milestone in Twin Transit’s efforts to operate a cleaner fleet, reduce operating costs and modernize service with cutting-edge green technology.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto. “Twin Transit has worked toward integrating green technologies for a long time. To see this dream becoming reality is truly fantastic.”
Several months ago, Twin Transit sent two diesel buses to California’s Complete Coach Works for a full overhaul. When complete, the 35-foot Gillig buses will be entirely refurbished and – most importantly – powered by zero-emission electric.
But first, they’re being stripped down to the frame.
Here’s a sneak peek of what the buses look like now:
Next comes the most exciting part – retrofitting with electric power!
Many Lewis County residents struggle to access quality medical care and other essential services due to a lack of reliable transportation. This disproportionately affects our elderly population, individuals living with a disability, the socioeconomically disadvantaged, youth, and anyone who just needs a ride.
At Twin Transit, we believe that transportation should never get in the way of life.
After operating fixed route service for over 40 years, Twin Transit is piloting a new direct transportation program that will revolutionize the way our community moves. Dial-a-Ride Twin Transit (DARTT) is a door-to-door transportation pilot program that will operate within a 15-mile drive time radius of our Centralia and Chehalis locations.
The program will begin service on November 16, 2020 and extend through at least February 28, 2021. This initial pilot phase will allow us to assess need and further develop our model to create the most effective and beneficial system for our community. During this time, we will also continue to pursue grant and other alternative funding sources to further improve and expand the program.
How does it work?
It’s easy! Simply call 360-330-5555 to book and pay for your ride, at least 24 hours in advance. Once your reservation is made, a van will pick you up at the appointed day and time and take you where you need to go.
Reservations must be made by 4:00 p.m. the previous day (although more advance notice is appreciated).
Rides are available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Pickup and drop off points must be located within the DARTT service area map.
At least two hours of notice must be given for any cancelations or rescheduling of appointments.
If less than two hours notice is given, or if you are a “no show,” no refund will be given.
Twin Transit is now accepting reservations for rides beginning on November 16, 2020.
DARTT offers transportation within a 15-mile drive time radius of Twin Transit’s Centralia and Chehalis locations.
DARTT Service Area Map:
You do not have to live within this region, but your ride does need to start and end within the service area map. We hope to expand the DARTT program to encompass an even wider geographic region in the future. This pilot phase will allow us to test and improve the model, in preparation for further growth.
How much does it cost?
The price of each ride is based on mileage. The following chart shows a general pricing outline. For exact pricing and to book your ride, please call 360-330-5555.
One Way Price
0 – 5.0
5.1 – 10.0
10.1 – 15.0
15.1 – 20.0
20.1 – 25.0
25.1 – 30.0
If you choose for your DARTT ride to connect you with Twin Transit’s fixed route service, you will receive a free bus pass for that portion of your trip.
As with our current fixed route and paratransit service, the safety of Twin Transit passengers and drivers is our primary concern. As such, stringent health and safety protocols are in place:
Each DARTT ride will be limited to two passengers or one family group
Each van features a Plexiglas shield between the driver and passengers
Each vehicle undergoes routine sterilization
Masking and adherence to social distancing protocols are required
Our community needs comprehensive transportation options. DARTT’s individualized door-to-door service will provide access to quality medical care and other essential services. It’s also another safe transportation option for those with medical concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. By expanding local transportation options in this new and innovative way, we can reduce stress and isolation, increase connection, facilitate better health outcomes, and greatly improve overall quality of life.
We know you have places to go. We’ll get you there – better than ever before.
For more information, visit TwinTransit.org or call 360-330-5555.
Twin Transit is dedicated to getting you where you need to go.
It all started when we launched our first fixed route bus service over 40 years ago. These initial routes slowly grew to encompass a large portion of the Twin Cities, stimulating economic development and providing access to employment, education, and life-essential services.
Twin Transit introduced a paratransit service to help individuals living with an ADA need. This program specifically serves qualifying individuals who live within ¾ of a mile of our fixed route service.
This type of ADA transportation program is often called “paratransit” service. However, Twin Transit’s paratransit program name has led to some confusion with Paratransit Services Inc., who provides transportation to Medicaid recipients throughout the region. Although the entities provide different services, people often (understandably) get the two paratransits confused. This has led to unnecessary difficulty navigating the system for both individuals and medical providers.
With the launch of Twin Transit’s new Dial-a-Ride door-to-door service, DARTT, we decided it was the perfect time to update the old paratransit name. Moving forward, Twin Transit’s paratransit service will be known as LIFTT.
LIFTT will continue to provide a ‘lift’ for those with an ADA need who qualify for the program. All other program parameters will remain the same. Only the name is changing.
We decided after all these years, it was time to give it a little LIFTT.
LIFTT: Life – Independence – Freedom – Twin Transit
Centralia’s Mellen Street Park & Ride is transforming into something new!
When complete, the Mellen Street e-Transit Station will include electric bus wave induction charging, electric car charging, ample parking and visual enhancements. This new e-transit station will facilitate electric public transportation throughout the Twin Cities and along the Southwest Washington e-Transit Corridor, beginning with a new route between Centralia and Olympia/Tumwater in mid-2021.
Funding for this physical infrastructure has already been secured through a combination of three grants: a Green Transportation Grant, DERA Funds, and Volkswagen settlement dollars. Two electric buses have also been purchased. In addition to grant funding, the renovation of this property was made possible by a perpetual lease agreement with the Washington Department of Transportation.
Together, we are maximizing technological advancements to better serve our community.
We have before us a tremendous economic and environmental opportunity. The availability of new, cost-saving, environmentally friendly technologies has given us the ability to transform our lives – and our communities – in a way that was never before possible.
We must seize this opportunity and stride boldly into this new technological landscape.
The first step? Establishing electric, zero-emission transit along our main interstate and highway corridors. This will reduce the number of individual vehicles on the road and drastically lower carbon emissions. It will improve access to living-wage employment opportunities, educational options, services and amenities for those in smaller urban and rural communities. This will, in turn, improve wage potential and living conditions, reduce poverty and crime, and implement a culture of opportunity and hope, yielding positive results for generations to come.
In addition, the use of zero-emission electric technologies establishes a cultural expectation that will inspire proliferation of wind, electric and solar power reliance throughout our region and beyond.
With benefits this pronounced waiting to be realized, we must not hesitate. We must adopt these new technologies swiftly and strategically, implementing creative new service models in the process. Now is the time for new innovations, creative solutions and unbridled potential.
Twin Transit’s Health and Wellness Committee is committed to supporting the health and wellness of their fellow employees. We started off the summer with a step competition and a healthy eating potluck. Since then, we’ve shared healthy living tips and recipes, while brainstorming new ways to support our staff on their own wellness journeys.
This week we hosted our first-ever company-wide flu shot clinic, which was a great success! Greg from the Safeway Pharmacy set up a mobile clinic right in our bus barn, which made it easy for our team to get their flu shot.
This preventative step will help them stay healthy and well all winter long. #farewellflu!
We’re one step closer! Twin Transit received 13 proposals for construction of the Mellen Street e-Transit Station during our recent bidding process. We would like to thank all the businesses who took the time to consider this important project and submit a bid.
The contract has been awarded to Barcott Construction Inc. We are so excited to work in coordination with this local company to make the Mellen Street e-Transit Station vision a reality.
When complete, the Mellen Street e-Transit Station will support zero-emission electric public transit in our community. It will include electric bus access; wave induction charging; electric car charging; vanpool, bicycle and pedestrian access; and visual enhancements. We are thrilled to bring this asset to Lewis County.
By incorporating green technologies, we can continue to support employment, education, and economic development in a more fiscally and environmentally responsible way.
The announcement of completely online schooling has hit many local families hard. While necessary, the new school environment will be especially difficult for parents who work full time. To help alleviate some of the burden, Twin Transit is offering free transportation to all children. This includes kids under the age of six, those in grade school and high school students.
Kids age 10 and up can ride Twin Transit buses on their own. Children nine and under must ride with someone who is at least 16 or over, so older teens can take a younger sibling on the bus with them. Twin Transit advises each family to determine what is best for their children.
“Kids of all ages ride the bus frequently,” said Twin Transit Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto. “Our drivers keep an eye on them and always help them get where they need to go.”
Kids can use the transit system to get to a family member or friend’s house. Or, they can ride it to access a tutor or kids’ club/childcare location. This will alleviate some of the stress working parents face as they navigate this new aspect of post-COVID life. And parents can rest assured that Twin Transit continues to use strong health and safety measures including bus sanitization, face coverings, Plexiglas shields, and social distancing. Each bus is also limited to 10 passengers to facilitate social distancing and help slow the spread – but don’t worry, if the bus is already full, there’s another one just ten minutes behind it.
Twin Transit has placed the official order for two grant-funded electric buses. Expected to arrive in December 2020, these vehicles will power environmentally friendly public transit between Centralia and Chehalis, starting in early 2021.
The new buses will decrease emissions and make public transit more affordable. In addition, each bus is “recycled” from a current diesel bus, following grant requirements. This ensures that carbon and other hazardous emissions are reduced, while maximizing on pre-existing resources – a win on all fronts.
The electric buses are only the first step in a new wave of green technology integration. Twin Transit will soon begin construction on two electric transit stations, each outfitted with wave induction charging to power the electric buses in-route.
The new Mellen Street e-Transit Station will begin construction in September and the National Avenue e-Transit Station will commence construction in early 2021. Each e-transit station will also include electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle and pedestrian access, and visual enhancements. These projects will be the first of their kind in Lewis County and will provide significant economic stimulus.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto. “Twin Transit has worked toward integrating green technologies for a long time. To see that dream becoming reality is truly fantastic.”
This is just the beginning. As we embrace these new technologies, we are laying the foundation for widespread adoption; a more environmentally friendly and fiscally responsible future; and large-scale economic invigoration.