Community Bridges’ Lift Line program reaches milestone

A crowd gathered at Lift Line's fleet facility on Ford Street in Watsonville Friday morning to celebrate the program's new charging stations and all-electric vehicles. — Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—Representatives from agencies and organizations across Santa Cruz County and as far away as Sacramento gathered Friday at Lift Line’s fleet facility in Watsonville for a special unveiling.

Two new electric vehicle (EV) shuttles and two new public charging stations were introduced for the Lift Line Paratransit Dial-A-Ride Program, which is operated by local non-profit organization Community Bridges. The service provides up to 80,000 door-to-door rides for seniors and people with disabilities annually.

With this unveiling, Lift Line has become the first public transportation agency in Santa Cruz County to utilize EVs.

“We are really excited to bring electric vehicles into county-wide public transportation,” said Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino. “This is how you invest in the future.”

The total cost for the two shuttles and the two charging stations was $360,592, including $268,219 from the California Air Resources Board and $62,00 from the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.

The vehicles, which are each equipped with wheelchair lifts, will be powered at the new charging stations at Lift Line’s facility on Ford Street. According to Community Bridges representatives, the shuttles can drive an average range of 60 to 100 miles without needing to be recharged.

“This is an amazing achievement,” said Watsonville Mayor Paco Estrada. “It’s a tangible step in the right direction to reduce carbon emissions.”

Visiting from Sacramento was Veronica Eady, California Air Resources Board Assistant Director. Eady explained that the State of California has been implementing a plan to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030.

“It’s vital that we reach that goal,” Eady said. “We have our work cut out for us. But it’s programs like Lift Line that are really making a difference.”

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The new public charging stations are located at 240 Ford Street in Watsonville. Electricity cost vary by time of day, and users can pay with their credit card or Apple Pay. For information about Lift Line services visit communitybridges.org/liftline.

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Editor's Note: This article will publish in the May 3 edition of the Register-Pajaronian. 

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