Check out North Augusta's new bus: It doesn't just look different, it is different. The bus is a rare one, fueled by a hydrogen fuel cell, which means it doesn't produce any smog or emissions.
While most buses cough exhaust filled with carbon monoxide out of the tailpipe, the new bus doesn't even have a tailpipe.
"The only thing that comes out the exhaust system is water and maybe some heat," James Sutton explains.
But clean energy doesn't come cheap; the bus costs around $1.3 million. So, what's it doing in the CSRA?
"A million dollars is a lot for anything, specifically for a bus, but to acquire a bus for $25,000 is a definite benefit," Sutton says.
North Augusta worked with the Economic Development Partnership to get the bus through a federal transportation clean energy grant; they paid less than two percent of cost. A steal of a deal for sure, but the schedule bins there are empty because North Augusta doesn't have a bus route. So, why do they need a bus?
"We're not looking to get into the transit business obviously, but when you have events you want to showcase business and quality of business downtown," Todd Glover explains.
The city hopes this green machine will bus in more business to support local businesses downtown during festivals like Peach Jam and Jack O'Lantern Jubilee.
"A lot of times with the parking that's available people have to park quite a ways, even for our elderly or handicapped," Glover says. "We're looking forward to having the bus make it easier for people to appreciate our downtown."
And that makes it easier to fuel money into North Augusta's economy, without pumping pollutants into its environment.
"99.9 percent of the vehicles you have traveling through North Augusta and the United States, you have carbon monoxide gases," Sutton says.
"It's not something anyone else is doing, and we like to be a leader in North Augusta," Glover says.
North Augusta expects to first use the bus during Jack O'Lantern Jubilee.
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