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Metro Wants To Fully Transition To Electric Buses By 2030

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(Photo by PatricksMercy via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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After months of community activism, the purchase of five electric buses for the Orange Line, and a letter from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Metro has announced plans to make its entire bus fleet electric by 2030. Currently, the organization's 2,200 buses run on natural gas. The announcement makes Metro the largest public agency to express plans to fully transition to electric buses, according to KPCC.

In 2013, Metro experimented with a few electric buses and the results went, well, terribly. BYD, the company from which it sourced the buses, was investigated for its labor practices and the buses themselves had major structural issues. Poor welding caused cracks in the buses, rendering them unusable.

Technology has improved since then, however, and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has already started implementing electric buses in their DASH service. The DASH routes cover about 150 miles daily, in contrast to the 250 daily miles of a regular Metro bus route—current electric bus technology still isn't advanced enough to support the vastness of the Metro bus system. John Drayton, Metro’s head of vehicle technology, told KPCC that Metro is "going into new territory here," because "there's not currently an electric bus on the market that can meet Metro's needs for its rapid or local service." He anticipates these types of buses will hit the market in 2020 or 2022, but if not, the 2030 benchmark will be pushed back.

Until the electric buses become the norm for Los Angeles, though, we'll at least be able to use wi-fi. Metro announced a pilot wifi program for its buses on Thursday, starting with 150 buses in the next couple of weeks. It will take several years to outfit the entire fleet with wifi.