Electric DASH Buses To Begin Service In DTLA Next Week

L.A. transportation leaders introducing LADOT's first electric bus. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
L.A. transportation leaders introducing LADOT's first electric bus. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At a press event today, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Mike Bonin, and L.A. City Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds introduced the first of four electric LADOT DASH buses. Starting next week, LADOT will be running electrified bus service on LADOT DASH Route A, which extends from the Arts District to Central City West primarily via First, Figueroa and Flower Streets. Initially one electric bus will be in circulation. The fleet will gradually increase to four by mid-2017.

The four new 35-foot electric buses were purchased by LADOT under a $2.8 million grant from the California Energy Commission, administered by CALSTART. The buses are manufactured by BYD in Lancaster in northern L.A. County.

LADOT's first electric DASH bus to begin operations next week
LADOT’s first electric DASH bus to begin operations next week

Mayor Garcetti, a self-avowed “electric car enthusiast – or some would say – geek,” touted the air quality benefits of electric transit. Electric buses, according to the mayor, represent a 90 percent emissions decrease compared to diesel buses. The mayor touted the city’s transition to electric vehicles, including significant portions of the city and LAPD fleets. Electrification is important for global-scale greenhouse gas emissions, but also significantly benefits the local air breathed by riders, pedestrians, and indeed all users of streets.

“Can you hear me over the sound of this bus?” joked Councilmember Bonin. Electric buses, in contrast to relatively-environmentally-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, are incredibly quiet. Bonin further remarked that electric buses are fiscally responsible. LADOT expected to save $16,000 per bus annually in ongoing gas and maintenance costs.

DASHinterior
The electric bus interior looks pretty similar to other buses

And that’s not all. These electric buses come with their very own free wifi, which was used by press conference attendees today.

Garcetti, Bonin and Reynolds all drew contrasts with Metro’s reluctance to embrace electric buses. In October, the Metro board voted to continue to rely primarily on CNG for its massive bus fleet through 2025, with a few limited pilot exceptions. Nearby Foothill Transit is already operating full-sized electric buses and has committed to an all-electric bus fleet by 2030.

"The chargers are coming" is the headline Garcetti suggested for these DASH electric bus charging stations
“The chargers are coming” is the headline Garcetti suggested for these DASH electric bus charging stations

LADOT DASH electric buses have a range of approximately 150 miles, enough to easily cover a downtown DASH bus daily routine. The buses charge overnight at LADOT’s DASH Transit Maintenance Facility on Washington Boulevard in South Los Angeles. Full recharging takes approximately three hours.

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