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

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.
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.

  • Woo hoo!!! Hell, let’s just electrify everything by 2030 ;)

  • D Man

    And the war against the poor continues. I wonder how much the fares will increase in order to pay for the new clean (aka expensive) fleet? The same as garbage collection rates went up to pay for the new clean garbage truck fleet, i.e. triple or quadruple?

  • Electric buses have a higher initial cost than diesel or CNG buses, but lower operating costs and total lifetime costs than diesel. They’re becoming more cost competitive with CNG as their production ramps up and they can take advantage of economies of scale. All of this is without accounting for the benefits of improved air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions provided by electric buses. Plus, to solve global warming we have to do this sooner rather than later.

  • Ray

    Does anyone know if these buses will be any more comfortable than the current buses? The 60-foot articulated buses are horribly uncomfortable, shaky, and loud. No wonder people are asking for a train line.

  • Joe Linton

    LADOT doesn’t operate any articulated buses – you’re probably thinking of Metro. Generally though the rider experience is better on electric buses – quieter, no tailpipe emissions to speak of.

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