Metro Transit celebrates another year of reliable electric bus service
Across the country, transit providers are learning what it takes to successfully bring electric buses into their fleet. Metro Transit is part of that crowd.
In 2019, the agency’s first eight electric buses went into service on the METRO C Line. After some initial challenges, the chargers that are needed to fuel the battery-powered, 60-foot buses have been working as intended for more than a year.
This has allowed electric buses to travel more than 175,000 in-service miles in 2022. Several thousands of gallons of diesel fuel would have been needed to travel the equivalent number of miles on a traditional bus.
“We began using electric buses fully knowing we were on the leading edge of this new technology,” Carrie Desmond, electric bus infrastructure manager, said. “We were dedicated to overcoming any issues with this new technology, and we were successful.”
That dedication to learning and adapting will continue in the coming years.
Substantial power is in place at the newly opened North Loop Garage to add chargers in the coming years, and plans to prepare the East Metro Garage for charging equipment are also moving forward.
In its Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan, Metro Transit set out to have electric buses make up at least 20% of its 40-foot fleet by 2027. Eight 40-foot electric buses are expected to be ordered in 2023 to be used on local routes. Plans also call for five electric buses to be used on the METRO Gold Line.
The transition plan will be updated at least every five years to reflect the most recent advances in technology, and to reflect any changes in service plans. Since some electric buses currently have limited ranges, Metro Transit plans to match where they are used with what the vehicles are capable of.
“We’ll continue to review and revise our fleet, charging, and service plans based on our Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan,” Desmond said. "Implementing new zero-emission technology while maintaining reliable service will remain a critical balance to strike."