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SARTA Takes Its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus On a Stark County Tour Today

photo of hydrogen fuel cell bus

The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority will be taking its new hydrogen fuel cell bus on tour today.

The bus will make stops throughout Stark County until mid-afternoon. It then heads back to Ohio State University. Researchers there have been evaluating the bus’ environmental impact and efficiency before it's placed into regular service next year.

SARTA spokeswoman Kristie Petty says fuel costs are about the same as its other buses, due to the recent drop in diesel prices, but the hydrogen buses still offer other advantages.

"The difference is, we get double the mileage from the bus. So the bus has a longer range with hydrogen, so it doesn't require refueling as often.

“Right now, it’s just so people can take a look at it. The bus will be running, so people will be able to hear a noticeable difference in the way the engine is running. Because actually, when you’re sitting on the bus, you don’t hear the engine running. There’s actually a battery; there’s not a traditional combustible engine. So, it’s very quiet. The only time you actually hear anything is when the motors kick on to cool down the fuel cells and run the air conditioning or the heating system.”

SARTA has about 100 diesel, hybrid and CNG buses in its fleet, and expects to have 10 hydrogen cell buses in service by 2018.

The bus will be stopping at the following locations today:

Canton Cornerstone Transit Center, 112 Cherry Ave. SE, from 7:10 to 7:50 a.m. and 3:10 to 3:50 p.m.

Massillon Transit Center, 41 Erie St. S, from 8:20 to 8:40 a.m. and 1:55 to 2:33 p.m.

Belden Village Transit Center, 4700 Whipple Ave. NW in Plain Township, from 9:05 to 9:35 a.m. and 12:55 to 1:25 p.m.

Alliance Transit Center, 10 Prospect St., from 10:15 to 10:50 a.m.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.