RFTA Testing Battery-Powered Electric Buses in the Upper Valley


RFTA is Plugged In:

Eight battery powered electric buses are joining the ranks of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) fleet. These buses are the result of a partnership involving RFTA, City of Aspen, Federal Transit Administration, Colorado Department of Transportation, Pitkin County, Holy Cross Energy and Snowmass Village, that joined forces to support the electrification of buses serving the Roaring Fork Valley.

These new electric buses will be spotted while out for testing throughout the fall. RFTA is extensively testing the electric buses within the City of Aspen, Snowmass Village and Pitkin County. To test the buses’ ability and range, drivers will start them on shorter, flatter routes around Aspen without passengers before moving to the longer, steeper roads.

Made by New Flyer, the Xcelsior CHARGE™ bus uses an electric motor powered by energy stored in rechargeable ba­tteries. The bus boasts:

  • Zero emissions at the tailpipe
  • Lower operating costs
  • 36 passenger seats
  • Wireless internet
  • NextStop passenger information system
  • Automated passenger counting system
  • Automated Vehicle Location system

Drivers and maintenance workers are currently receiving extensive special training on the eight all electric buses.

RFTA is planning to place the buses into full service with the start of Fall Shoulder season around Thanksgiving on November 28th. Until then the buses will be moving around the valley designated with wraps indicating that the new technology is in the testing phase to guarantee we can meet our rider’s needs. The public and passengers will not be able to board the buses during this testing phase.

“Now we get an opportunity for our community to experience less noise pollution, lower emissions and mitigation for climate change,” said Pitkin County Commissioner George Newman, who also is a member of the RFTA board.

The electrification of a portion of RFTA’s fleet is a goal of the RFTA Board of Directors and a publically supported initiative from RFTA Destination 2040.


Following the 2018 ballot vote on November 6, 2018, member jurisdictions voted to pass the 2.65 mill levy ballot measure to help fund strategic improvements to our region’s transportation system. To view projects and status updates view the Destination 2040 Project Roadmap.


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