In the first step towards a new goal of eliminating tailpipe emissions by 2030, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority has agreed to spend $138 million to buy 95 electric buses from New Flyer and BYD.
The new e-buses will make up less than 5% of Metro’s fleet, but the purchase will at least double the number of electric buses in use in California, according to the agency.
Metro’s board voted unanimously to deploy the battery-powered buses, but some in the organization still have reservations about their range. In a recent report, Metro employees said that electric buses as they exist today pose “significant risks to service and operation.”
Metro’s first electric buses will be deployed on lines where their range won’t be a problem: on the Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley and in the 29-mile Silver Line carpool lane along the Harbor and San Bernardino freeways. Both routes will have charging stations.
The Orange Line will have 35 electric buses from New Flyer, and should be fully electric by 2020. The Silver Line will feature 60 buses from BYD, which are to be operational by 2021.
“As the federal government moves backward, here in Los Angeles, we are moving forward,” said Los Angeles City Councilman and Metro Director Mike Bonin. “They are moving us into a dark past. We are moving into a bright future.”