Six years ago, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) retired its last diesel bus in favor of buses that ran on cleaner fuel.
Now, with the encouragement of its chairman, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Metro — one of the largest transit agencies in the U.S. — is moving further down the road of environmental responsibility by committing to convert its entire 2,200 bus fleet to zero-emission buses by 2030.
On Thursday, Metro announced that it is awarding contracts for 95 zero-emission electric buses and bus charging infrastructure for two of its express bus service routes: the Orange Line, which runs from North Hollywood to Chatsworth, and the Silver Line from El Monte to San Pedro.
In its Board Report the agency said, “A full transition to electric buses coupled with renewable energy sources promises mobility with significantly lower environmental impacts from this form of transportation.”
Southern California Edison President Ron Nichols applauded the move.
“By putting more electric buses on the road, Metro is taking the kind of bold action that is absolutely necessary for California to meet its air quality and climate goals,” he said. “We encourage other transit agencies and fleet operators to consider how they might electrify their vehicles.”
SCE has a plan for expanding electric transportation in its service area, including the electrification of cars, buses, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and industrial vehicles and equipment. The plan is currently being considered by the California Public Utilities Commission.
According to the California Air Resources Board, transportation in general is responsible for 36 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions and more than 80 percent of its air pollution. Residents in communities along transportation corridors, which are most heavily impacted, suffer higher rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases and stand to benefit the most from zero-emission buses.
In the fall, Metro will be hiring a consultant to develop a plan for converting its remaining 168 routes to zero-emission buses, taking into account such considerations as route realignments, rates, circuit capacity and budget requirements. The results of the 18-month study will be used to help Metro make the decision whether and how to go all-electric by 2030.
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