How We Roll, June 16: let’s talk about new buses and Bat Wisdom

Art of Transit: 


And as we head into Father’s Day weekend, some wisdom from Bruce Wayne/Adam West:

Metro has zero electric buses now. It wants to have 2,200 by 2030 (KPCC)

The Metro Board of Directors has adopted a policy of converting the entire fleet of buses — which are currently run on compressed natural gas (CNG) — to zero emission vehicles by 2030. If you’ve been to a Board meeting the last few months, you also know that there has been no shortage of members of the public pushing for Metro to make the conversion sooner rather than later.

That’s a challenge for Metro, with officials saying that there are not currently electric buses on the market that can meet the agency’s operational needs on its local and rapid lines. There should be — but probably not until the 2020 to 2022 timeframe. In the meantime, the agency has to accommodate 900,000-plus boardings on the average weekday.

So here’s what is happening this month:

•Metro is asking its Board this month to approve the purchase of 35 60-foot electric buses for the Orange Line — the goal remains to convert the Orange Line to fully electric buses by 2020 while also putting electric buses on the Silver Line.

•Metro is also asking the Board to approve buying 295 40-foot CNG buses, some of which will replace diesel buses operated by Metro contractors. CNG burns much more cleanly than diesel.

The CNG buses are near-zero emission buses, meaning they have very low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions — a key ingredient of smog. As part of midlife overhauls of existing CNG buses, Metro is also replacing engines to make them near-zero emissions.

The consequence of not going forward with the purchase of the new CNG buses? “Doing so forces us to keep 15-plus year buses out in the fleet and really doesn’t do a service for our passengers,” said John Drayton, Metro’s head of vehicle technology.

This seems to me a pretty good path forward. There is a very big goal in place with the acknowledgement that Metro (which has the second highest bus ridership in the U.S.) is charged with moving a lot of people each day. Plus, the CNG buses will be getting cleaner. I’ll also note this: Metro absolutely has the responsibility to lead the way when it comes to bus technology and being a good citizen.

But we’re hardly the only vehicle on the road — in fact, there are eight million registered vehicles in L.A. County and in order to reduce smog and greenhouse gases many more vehicles than just Metro buses will have to get greener.

To hear staff discussion and public comment in the Metro Board’s Systems Safety, Security and Operations Committee, click here and then click on items 41 (the electric bus contract) and 42 (the CNG bus contract).

Sorry, a monorail is a nonstarter for the Sepulveda Pass (LA Magazine)

Neal Broverman reacts to an interview that Mayor Eric Garcetti gave earlier this week in which he suggested a monorail may be an option for the Sepulveda Pass transit project. Neal’s reaction: monorails are too big with too clunky infrastructure to suit the pass.

Here’s our post about monorails and where the Sepulveda Pass project is study-wise.

5 replies

  1. What LA Metro really needs to do is to convert the most heavily used routes (not individual lines) such as Broadway, Hill, Main, even Venice, and Vermont. etc., to trolley buses using dual-mode buses such as those used on the Boston Sliver Line. These dual-mode buses run on electricity from overhead wires in tunnels, and on CNG diesel engines elsewhere.

    In LA Metro’s case, the wires could be strung over the routes with the greatest ridership, with changeover to CNG diesel at the outer ends of the routes..
    For example, see which has scenes of the changeover being semi-automatic by remote control by the bus operator and taking less around 30 seconds, There are inverted 90-degree troughs to guide the poles during raising to ensure contact between the trolley shoes and the wires.

  2. Oh this sounds like a good idea! Let’s convert our fleet of CNG buses that are near-zero emission buses and currently in operation and doing fine, to electric fleet of buses that have yet to be made and introduced to the public. Boy am I the only one that sees a problem with this?

    Really if you got some money that’s burning a hole in your pockets Metro, how bout improving the Blue Line? Get the traveling public with info at the stations of when that next train is coming! Your traveling public still to this day doesn’t have info of when the next train is coming at the Willowbrook hub! Yeah the screens are there, but the crap isn’t working!!!!!!! How long has that been up? Years????????

    And while we’re at it, that goes for the Green Line portion of the info too at the same hub mentioned. All the people traveling to LAX don’t have info on when the next train is coming!!!!!!!!!! Yeah the screens are there, but the crap isn’t working!!!!!!!!!!!

    How bout applying resources where it would be of use to the traveling public TODAY?

  3. Regarding monorails, a great deal of information about cost-effectiveness, safety, ease of access, construction, etc. may be attained by examining existing systems, such as the one in Las Vegas.

  4. About the Bat Signal, of all the great events that place in LA, I have to missed this one! In these scary times we need heroes–superheroes–to be truthful. Even though Batman is make believe, I think the Bat Signal should be a recurring projection on City Hall just to remind us to stay true to our hopes and dreams.