Solar power helps CapMetro light up the night

So far, about 125 CapMetro bus shelters have solar lighting.

Welcome to the CapMetro blog, where we regularly highlight CapMetro’s many offerings and its best-in-class workforce.

At CapMetro, your safety and security are our top priority all day, every day.

We are constantly searching for new – and better – ways to keep passengers and operators safe.

To that end, CapMetro is embarking upon an ambitious new program that will result in solar lighting at more than 900 bus stops systemwide within the next five years. The focus will be on fixed-route stops; all CapMetroRapid stops already have lighting.

The multi-year solar lighting program was approved by CapMetro’s board of directors at the July board meeting held July 25. The contract with SELS USA LLC calls for a one-year base period and four option years. The total cost over five years is estimated at $1.1 million.

“We are committed to providing amenities for our riders’ well-being beyond bus essential services,” said Moraima Dones, a technical program/project manager at CapMetro. “The lights are important because they provide safety, security and visibility.”

The lights need no electricity to operate, helping to promote sustainability. After initial installation expenses, the solar panels will result in years of lighting before dawn and after dusk at no cost to CapMetro.

Lights will be located at sheltered and unsheltered stops. At shelters, the lights are roof-mounted; at most unsheltered stops, lights will be placed atop existing signage poles. Stops that are heavily shaded will instead get solar streetlights mounted atop newly installed poles – something not presently in use in the CapMetro network.

Currently, there is solar lighting at approximately 165 stops – 125 stops with shelters and 40 unsheltered stops. An additional 750 stops will get similar lighting within five years, according to Kenneth Cartwright, CapMetro’s Vice President of Capital Projects.

The board unanimously approved the proposal. At the meeting, board member Eric Stratton praised Cartwright and his team for their continued efforts to increase safety and security at bus stops.

“This is phenomenal,” Stratton said. “I want to thank the staff. How amazing is this? This is a huge victory, a huge win. I want to thank you all for how responsive you’ve been to us as a board and also to the community requests on this.”

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