Electric bus debuts on G Line (Orange) today in San Fernando Valley

Metro deployed its first zero emission electric bus on the G Line (Orange) on Monday following the completion of testing and the installation of electric bus charging units along the G Line’s route. A Facebook Live event featuring L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. Council Member Paul Krekorian and Metro CEO Phil Washington was held — watch the event above. 

Today’s deployment is the first of 40 electric buses that will be put into service by the end of 2020. The 60-foot articulated buses are manufactured by New Flyer and the G Line (Orange) in the San Fernando Valley is the first line to receive these electric buses. Up to now, all Metro buses are powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), which is burns cleaner than diesel buses of the past. But CNG is still a fossil fuel that contributes to climate change. 

The electric buses cost $1.15 million each in a total project valued at $80,003,282. This project includes the deployment of the electric buses and associated charging equipment and infrastructure improvements. The new buses will be capable of recharging at various points along the G Line (Orange) to support its 24/7 operation.

Under separate contracts, Metro ordered an additional 65 zero emission electric buses from the manufacturer BYD with five of those buses being 60-foot articulated buses earmarked for the G Line (Orange) and the remainder to be used on the J Line (Silver) that operates between the El Monte Bus Station and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center in Gardena. Metro plans to convert the J Line (Silver) to zero emission electric buses in 2021.

The Metro Board of Directors has endorsed converting the entire Metro bus fleet to zero emission buses by 2030 if technology advances enough and the cost is attainable. Reducing greenhouse gases that cause global warming and improving air quality are core goals of Metro’s Vision 2028 plan, our guiding principles for the years ahead.

Quotes

“Even as we confront the immediate challenge of COVID-19, we are making a long-term investment in a healthier, more sustainable future with the delivery of this first electric bus on the G Line,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “Every electric vehicle we put on our streets today means lower emissions tomorrow, and we remain fully committed to cleaner transportation options and a better quality of life for all Angelenos.”

“We are excited to begin operating electric buses as part of Metro’s bus fleet and look forward to achieving our goal of converting the G Line to all electric buses,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “As we continue to enhance the customer experience and improve our bus system through the NextGen Bus Plan, we will continue to make sustainable practices the norm.”

“Since the early planning stages, and for the last 20 years, I have been supporting Metro’s Orange Line (now the G Line), and I know how much it means to our community,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg. “It has provided premium, high-capacity rapid transit service, while being cost-effective, and has been an ongoing, extraordinary success.  I am excited that it now includes the use of innovative, environmentally-friendly equipment like this zero-emission electric bus. We are actively protecting the health of our Valley residents, and the environment, and that’s something we can be proud of.”

“The Metro G Line is one of Los Angeles’ most important lines, connecting the San Fernando Valley in an efficient and effective way,” said Los Angeles City Council Member David Ryu. “And soon, in a sustainable way as well. Making our City carbon-free is the critical work over the next decade, and I’m proud to see it start in the Valley with a fully electric G Line by the end of the year. When you prioritize a carbon-free future, you can make it happen – that’s what Metro is proving here today.” 

Photos

13 replies

  1. The Orange Line (G Line) should have been a light rail line in the first place that traveled in its own “trench” right-of-way along Chandler Blvd with rails crossing north-south streets UNDER the intersections. The speed would have been much greater than the 10 mph the buses travel at intersections and the whole line, and if not light rail, it could have been an extension of the Red Line and either would have been zero emission travel for the past 20 years. There could have been an exception to the Orthodox lifestyle of having an “Eruv” around the community (the electric transmission overhead lines would have created a void in the community surrounded by the physical boundary that creates an “Eruv” which in itself is a wire strung high around the neighborhood. It allows Orthodox Jews to carry certain items while outside their homes on the Sabbath.

    • I would think there would be extra recharge points. The recharge points are going to need maintenance or someone who can’t drive will crash into one. Or who knows what.

  2. What is the interior like? I figure just the same. They probably didn’t bother to notice how hard it is to get on and off of these buses because there is too much seating. They get extremely crowded. The walkways are narrow. No room for anyone to stand really except around the doors where people need to get in and out. The light rail trains are the same way. Terrible seating arrangements. Plus it looks like more felt seating. They never learn. Felt is gross/extremely unsanitary. Just step outside of your little box and see what other countries have implemented. America is incompetent.

    • Are there any particular systems that you think America should be similar too?

      • *Insert some European and Asian cities here*

        It legit does not have to be any particular system, the reality is there’s plenty of transit rich countries (Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan) that Metro could learn by example. I’ve been amazed how places like Japan have a clean a reliable transit system, though that has also taught the problem with American society and how it affects the POV of Public Transit.

        LA Metro trying to take advice from NYC and Chicago? You have got to be kidding me. At least cities like Portland and Seattle seem to be better off even though those systems are still young. If anything NYC is a prime example of how NOT to run a public transit system.

  3. All buses by 2030? That is quite aggressive.

    If they did half of Metro Rapid, I would be impressed.

  4. Is this a Chinese Company? Where are the buses manufactured? Are the employees American? Are the buses shipped from China or made here in the USA?
    Thank you,
    Ann Orphan

    • Hi Ann,

      The electric bus deployed yesterday and others that will be serving the G (Orange) Line are made by New Flyer, an American company with manufacturing sites in California (and elsewhere). Here’s their press release: https://www.newflyer.com/2017/10/la-metro-awards-contract-new-flyer-100-xcelsior-battery-electric-60-foot-transit-buses-advance-clean-transit-agenda/.

      Metro also has ordered electric buses from BYD, a Chinese-owned company that does business across North America (and elsewhere around the world). BYD plans to build the buses in Lancaster. Here’s the procurement summary (wonky but interesting): http://metro.legistar1.com/metro/attachments/d74648a8-2b0d-44a3-885d-bd11c8f92b4e.pdf

      Hope that helps,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Thank you for the reply. Are the batteries of lithium? If so, they must be huge! Where will these batteries be made and the lithium be mined from? Will the buses have WiFi? Will it be secure and not have a back door so users on their devices won’t be hacked?
        Regards,
        Ann Orphan

        • Hi Ann;

          There is a lot more info about the electric buses and how they work on the New Flyer website, which includes videos: https://www.newflyer.com/buses/xcelsior-charge/. And, yes, the batteries are large but we have also built recharging stations along the route — as you can see in the photos.

          As for the wifi, it is a public wifi system and users — as they should with all public wifi systems — be mindful of that and the sites they visit. As for hacking, we have offered wifi on the buses for some time now and I’m unaware of any complaints from riders that they’ve been hacked.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  5. “Just step outside of your little box and see what other countries have implemented. America is incompetent.“

  6. Sadly, I’ve given up hope that America would ever be competent when it comes to Public Transit. I am legit questioning why it’s gotten difficult to actually walking into the newer buses. I can’t quick put on my finger on it but I would assume those seats have gotten fatter.