Furthermore, Duluth's electric bus fleet has provided inadequate comfort by failing to keep riders warm in winter.
Meanwhile, the Twin Cities' fleet has proven comparatively unreliable. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, electric buses have broken down at twice the rate of traditional diesel-powered buses.
All of this leaves the general impression that electric buses lack efficiency and do not meet riders' needs.
The most significant aspect of this story, however -- or at least the one that makes it relevant to readers outside of Minnesota -- involves the perennial unholy alliance between government and business.
In 2021, Metro Transit received a federal grant to purchase a fleet of electric buses from the California-based manufacturer Proterra. Duluth received a similar grant in 2015.
Earlier this year, Proterra filed for bankruptcy despite a public endorsement from President Joe Biden as recently as March 2022.
Now, in addition to malfunctioning or inadequate buses, the Minnesota cities have no immediate vendor.