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L.A. City Approves Full LADOT Transit Electrification by 2030

1:59 PM PST on November 9, 2017

This week, the L.A. approved LADOT bus electrification by 2030. Photo of LADOT’s first electric DASH bus earlier this year – by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion that commits LADOT to electrify its transit bus fleet by 2030.

The motion (council file 17-0739) was introduced by City Councilmembers Mike Bonin and José Huizar. The motion sets a Transportation Department (LADOT) goal "to transition to a 100 percent zero-emission bus fleet by 2030 or earlier” and directs LADOT to report on the "operational, fleet, and transit facility" needed to make electrification happen.

Last month, the electrification motion was approved by the council's Transportation Committee, though with a handful of amendments:

    • Include a U.S. Employment Plan in electric bus procurement to ensure good jobs and workforce development
    • Prioritize electric vehicle implementation in disadvantaged communities, and ensure that new infrastructure does not unfairly burden disadvantaged communities.
    • Integrate renewable energy into powering electric transit vehicles
    • Use vehicles manufactured as locally as possible
    • Report on a possible accelerated transition by 2025

In a parallel item that emerged from the committee discussion, City Councilmember Paul Koretz is pushing for LADOT to get out of current contracts for natural gas transit vehicles in order to transition to electric even more quickly.

It may be well-known to many SBLA readers, though not to some news outlets, that LADOT and Metro are separate agencies operating separate bus fleets. Metro operates most buses within the city of Los Angeles. Metro already committed to electrifying its ~2,500 bus fleet by 2030.

LADOT operates a fleet of nearly 350 buses: about 210 DASH shuttle buses, and about 110 Commuter Express buses. According to a press statement from the L.A. County Electric Bus Coalition, one-third of all Californian transit buses are now set to run on battery electric engines by 2030. The coalition calls yesterday's approval the third-largest electric bus fleet commitment in the nation, right behind Metro and Seattle’s King County Metro transit agencies, though LADOT's fleet is actually slightly smaller than L.A. County's electrification leader, Foothill Transit's 361 bus fleet.

For folks wishing to get a glimpse of L.A.'s electrified transit future today, there are already many electric buses operating on L.A. County streets. Earlier this year, LADOT began operating four electric DASH shuttles. Foothill Transit was the first transit agency in the U.S. to run an all-electric bus route; Line 291 was all electric in 2014. The agency is committed to an all-electric bus fleet by 2030, and last week rolled out first in the nation service using Proterra's new long-range electric bus.

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