Art of Transit:
And as we head into Father’s Day weekend, some wisdom from Bruce Wayne/Adam West:
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.
Categories: Transportation Headlines