Metro receives FTA grants for electric buses and new ferry terminal on Catalina Island

Here’s the news release from Metro: 

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has received $8 million in grants from the Federal Transportation Administration that will be used to deploy zero-emission electric buses on the Orange Line and replace the ferry terminal on Catalina Island.

“Metro is appreciative of our strong partnership with the Federal Transportation Administration” said Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “These two grants will allow us to move forward in building out our transit infrastructure in all corners of the County, in a clean, green and efficient manner.”

Metro, through the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will receive $4.275 million to be used toward the purchase of five electric buses and eight charging stations for the Orange Line bus rapid transit corridor.

“I am pleased to have helped Metro’s Orange Line secure federal funding for new buses and charging stations,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “The Orange Line is one of the busiest bus lines in the nation. Commuters in the San Fernando Valley will benefit greatly from an addition to the fleet that can help alleviate crowded buses and waiting times. And with the zero-emission technology, these new buses will help reduce smog and other harmful greenhouse gases.”

In addition to the grant for electric buses, Metro and the city of Avalon received a $4-million grant to replace the existing 5,000-square-feet ferry terminal, built in 1968, with a new two-story 10,000-square-feet state-of-the-art terminal in the city of Avalon on Catalina Island. More than 1.2 million people annually use the ferry terminal.

“I am thrilled that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $4 million to Metro and the City of Avalon for the building of a new ferry terminal on Catalina Island,” said Congressman Alan Lowenthal.  “This new facility will serve the more than 1.2 million people who use the ferry terminal as an indispensable link for travel between Catalina and mainland Southern California.  It was my pleasure to work with Metro and the City of Avalon to request these funds and I look forward to the construction of this new ferry terminal that will be a boon to residents of Avalon and visitors to Catalina.”

“We welcome these two new grants as we strive to improve the customer experience on the Metro Orange Line and add to our fleet of buses serving the region,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “The replacement of the ferry terminal on Catalina Island will help residents access employment opportunities, educational and healthcare centers, as well as social and human services.”

9 replies

  1. Now we are buying electric buses but California doesn’t have enough electrical power because they have already announced they are going to have black out. California needs to figure out what the heck it wants to do. They want to shut down all the electric plants near the ocean shoreline and all the Nuclear plants so what is left is all the wind mills and solar panels. What a freaking joke this state has become. Good luck getting power for those buses. Oh by the way, when was the last real electrical power plant built in California? Wasn’t it bake when Moonbean was governor the first time and cancelled just about anything that would have been good for California.

  2. Why put electric buses on the Orange Line; just change it to electric light rail. The ferry building on Catalina needed to be upgraded for a long time. That was a good move.

    • It would cost about $25.5 million to replace all of the current 30 Orange Line buses with BYD electric buses. Installing light-rail would cost at least 40 times that amount.

  3. C’mon Metro, the last battery-electric articulated bus you tested on the Orange Line failed miserably and was very unreliable in service. If you want electric buses on the Orange Line that badly before its eventual conversion to light rail, perhaps you should look into putting in a trackless trolleybus system. Vancouver Translink, Seattle King County Metro, and San Francisco Muni are all excellent examples that prove an electric trolleybus system works and is highly reliable versus battery powered electric buses. Plus you would then have some electric infrastructure in place when the light rail conversion starts. I get that battery powered bus technology is still a technology that needs to be developed, but until it is, it serves very little reliable use to Metro let alone a very demanding line like Orange.

    • The test of a 60-foot long articulated BYD electric bus was not a failure according to Metro.

      Quoting from the executive summary of a Metro report:

      “Overall the performance of the bus and its electric battery storage and propulsion
      systems was impressive and showed that this bus could be suitable for limited operation
      as outlined in this report. Overall, the bus was positively received by operators,
      maintenance personnel and passengers. Vehicle performance was very good,
      particularly in areas of acceleration and top speed; the bus also provided a smooth, very
      quiet ride.”

      Totally electric driven vehicles are quieter, more reliable, need less maintenance, and have greater pulling power than piston powered engines.

      If a electric trolley bus is inoperative or something goes wrong with the overhead centenary power system, then all of the other trolleys in service cannot be used in that area. In contrast, if a electric bus fails, all of the other electric buses can still be used in the area where that bus is stopped.

      I would have to assume that that the 60-foot BYD buses on the Orange Line will have inductive charging at the Chatsworth, North Hollywood and Warner Center stations which will be used when the bus drivers take a ten-minute break. Inductive charging would be done using a embedded charger in the roadway at the stations and a pad on the underside of the bus. There would not be any physical contact between the charger and the pad. It would charge automatically without having to plug anything into the bus. Using inductive charging would enable an almost doubling of distance that each bus could travel throughout the day without going out of service.

  4. It takes 6-months from initial order to delivery of a bus according to a 2013 BYD pdf brochure. On page 8 of that brochure it makes reference to U.S. designed and built articulated and bi-articulated buses with in wheel technology. BYD transit buses are designed and built in the U.S. and they use in wheel electric motors. A 60-foot bus is single articulated and a 80-foot bus is bi-articulated. So does that mean that BYD might currently be working on a 80-foot bus model that could be used on the Orange Line in a couple of years?

  5. The electrical buses for tor the Orange line is Fantastic! The SFV will have the best transit system in all of LA once all the projects that are planed are completed.

  6. It’s exciting that Metro is rolling out more all-electric buses. If the federal government is giving away money to do it, it’s a no brainer. As long and the buses can do the job we should absolutely use them. Shifting the power source to the electrical grid opens the possibility of the buses being powered by 100% clean/renewable energy someday, as is necessary to solve climate change. Also, quieter buses and less “classic” air pollution along bus routes are things that we can all appreciate as well.