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Metro Leads the Nation in Setting Ambitious 2030 Zero Emission Bus Goal; Takes First Step with Purchase of 100 Electric Buses

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Wednesday August 02, 2017

Last Thursday the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board unanimously adopted a motion endorsing a comprehensive plan to transition the agency to a 100 percent zero emission bus fleet by 2030. The plan is contingent upon two primary factors: continuous advancements in electric bus technology – which includes an increase in range, reduction of bus weight, reduction of charging times and extension of battery life cycles – as well as a drop in price as the technology develops. Metro is the largest American transportation agency to endorse such a goal.

In a first step, Metro awarded two contracts on Thursday totaling approximately $108 million for manufacture and delivery of 60 forty-foot zero emission buses and 35 sixty-foot zero emission articulated buses as part of Metro’s move toward a 100 percent zero emission fleet by 2030. In March the agency awarded a contract for 5 sixty-foot electric articulated buses.

Contracts will go to BYD for the 40-foot buses to run on the Silver Line and to New Flyer for the 60-foot articulated buses, which will be assigned to the Orange Line. In March, the agency awarded a $6.6 million contract to BYD for 5 sixty-foot articulated buses that will run on the Metro Orange Line.  The new buses will replace retirement-eligible compressed natural gas (CNG) buses currently operating on the lines.

“We’re making bold investments in new technology because Metro is serious about making our air cleaner and communities healthier,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chair of the Metro Board. “This purchase of 100 electric buses is a down payment on a more sustainable future, and a big step toward our goal of having a fully electric bus fleet by 2030.”

Since 1993, the Metro Board has been committed to buying alternative energy buses and retired its last diesel bus in 2011. Metro currently operates a fleet of 100 percent CNG buses but in 2016, the Board directed Metro staff to create and implement a plan that would move the agency to electric buses on the Metro Orange Line by 2020, with the Silver Line to follow. These projects include both the purchase of electric buses and the implementation of an electric infrastructure on the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley and the Silver Line between El Monte and San Pedro, via downtown Los Angeles.

New Flyer was also awarded a $68 million contract for 65 sixty-foot CNG articulated buses. This award will be used to replace CNG buses that have passed the end of their useful lives and are slated for retirement. The contract includes the cost of optional vehicle features, spare parts and training aids.

“As we continue our transportation revolution, we must continue to make sustainable practices the norm,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “We hope our move toward a zero emission fleet will inspire other transit agencies across the nation to consider this as a possibility and investigate how they can transition toward greener fleets for the benefit of patrons, as well as the cities and towns they serve.”

The CNG purchase does not contradict Metro’s move toward a 100 percent zero emission fleet. Rather, it is part of Metro’s bus fleet replacement plans for fiscal years 2018 to 2022, which dictate minimum retirement eligibility age and mileage of Metro buses and confirm Metro’s commitment to lowering the average age of its fleet to ensure that passengers experience travel that is safe, reliable and comfortable.

“I want future generations to live in a Los Angeles where people have safe and convenient connections to transportation options that don't cause traffic gridlock and doesn't poison our air,” said Metro Board and L.A. City Council Member Mike Bonin, the motion’s author, along with Mayor Garcetti and Board Members Ara Najarian (who serves on the Glendale City Council) and L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Electric buses are a game-changer because they help move more people to where they need to go, without adding harmful fossil fuel pollution to our air.” 

About Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines.  The agency also oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.

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