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Ed Scannell/Marc Littman
Metro MEDIA RELATIONS
(213) 922-2703/(213) 922-2700
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marks 11th Anniversary of Policy to Buy Only Alternative Fuel Buses
estimates that it has cut approximately 6,400 tons of nitrogen oxide
emissions and 50 tons of particulate matter from L.A. skies since it began
using compressed natural gas buses
year marks the 11th anniversary of a major policy decision by the Los
Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), to buy only
alternative fuel buses for the transit riders of Los Angeles County.
why today the great majority of transit riders no longer smell diesel fumes or
inhale diesel soot when boarding or alighting from Metro Buses.
1993, Metro has phased in the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and
phased out the use of diesel buses, a move counter to most procurement and
deployment practices in the transit industry.
now operates the largest compressed natural gas (CNG) bus fleet in the country,
with nearly 2,000 buses - or 80 percent of its entire fleet - running on CNG.
Metro's AFV buses, including its present-day CNG fleet, have logged more than
450 million operating miles since 1993, an industry record.
estimates that it has reduced approximately 6,400 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx)
and 50 tons of particulate matter (PM) since it began using CNG buses in its
fleet. For NOx, that is equivalent to removing 104,500 cars from the road on a
yearly basis. For PM, it is the equivalent of removing 32,300 cars yearly. By
not operating diesel, Metro projects that it has reduced potential emissions by
about 1,000 tons for NOx and seven tons for PM per year.
to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), diesel vehicles
contribute 23 percent of all NOx emissions, a key ingredient in particulate
pollution. Heavy-duty diesel vehicles such as transit buses and other diesel
equipment are reported to be responsible for 70 percent of the total cancer risk
from air pollution in Southern California.
long-standing commitment to AFVs has also helped drive innovations in bus
technology. New CNG buses such as the light-weight, all-composite 'CompoBus'
and advanced design, 60-foot articulated Metro Liner transit bus are outgrowths
of the agency's advanced technology bus programs, and will be complementing
Metro's CNG fleet in large numbers beginning next year.
1993 decision to only buy AVFs was a significant paradigm shift for this
agency," said John Catoe, Deputy CEO and head of Transit Operations for Metro.
"It was a bold move, one that required a long-term commitment to meeting the
operational demands of CNG. We now see on a day-to-day basis the fuel's
advantages in reducing emissions."
led to Metro's decision to switch to AFVs? In 1993, Metro was considering the
purchase of 245 diesel buses as part of a 300-vehicle procurement using $89.3
million in authorized local and federal funds. With the feedback of
environmental organizations such as SCAQMD and others, Metro developed an
alternate procurement plan calling for the purchase of AFV-only buses. The new
plan also required that all future Metro Bus purchases be alternatively fueled
Southern California Rapid Transit District, Metro's predecessor agency, had
already been experimenting with methanol buses starting in 1989. By 1993, Metro
owned the country's largest methanol bus fleet, with 333 methanol-powered
buses in revenue service. Ultimately, these buses proved mechanically unreliable
for the rigors of daily transit operations, and had to be repowered with diesel
engines. Metro then set its sights on CNG, and within the 10-year period between
1994 and 2004, took delivery of 1,970 CNG buses from three different bus
manufacturers: Neoplan, Newflyer and North American Bus Industries. With the
addition of new CompoBuses and Metro Liner CNG buses next spring, Metro's CNG
fleet will pass the 2,000 mark. By 2006, the agency plans to have nearly 100
percent of its fleet running on CNG.
experience with CNG buses has been positive. While maintenance costs are
typically 15-20 percent higher than diesel buses due to higher parts costs and
increased maintenance requirements, Metro expects this price differential to
decrease as diesel engines and exhaust systems require reconfiguration to meet
increasingly stringent California Air Resource Board emission reduction rules.
comparison of NOx and PM emissions between Metro's workhorse diesel engine and
the most common CNG engine in the agency's fleet reveals that CNG produces 55
percent few NOx emissions and 96 percent fewer PM emissions.
"Because Metro still operates
a small fleet of diesel buses, it can compare specific emissions profiles from
both fuels," said John Drayton, vehicle acquisition manager for Metro.
"These profiles reveal that CNG provides specific reductions in nitrogen oxide
and particulate matter, which helps keep our air clean."
AFV policy has proven a catalyst for new air quality regulatory policies in the
state. In 2000, SCAQMD adopted Fleet Rule 1192 requiring selected public fleets
in Southern California to begin phasing in low-emission transit buses. Metro's
existing fleet of CNG buses was a significant, positive factor in demonstrating
the feasibility of the rule.
proactive AFV policy has also garnered industry kudos. The agency received
WestStart-CALSTART's 2001-2002 Blue Sky Award for successfully integrating CNG
with its countywide Metro Rapid Bus system. In 1994, Metro received SCAQMD's
Clean Air Award for its work in transportation and promotion of clean fuels.
continues to be a leader in the area of clean fuel vehicle technology,
evaluating hybrid electric technologies and fuel cells that
can improve operating efficiency, reliability and lower emissions.
more information on Metro programs, visit www.metro.net.
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