Los Angeles Metro Receives $10.5 Million for 30 “Near-Zero” Emission CNG Buses
Combined with Metro’s $10.5 million match, a total of $21 million will be invested to replace aging diesel buses with new CNG buses powered by “Near-Zero” emission engines. Grant funding will also pay for CNG refueling facilities, as well as a workplace development program to provide workers with training opportunities to operate and maintain the new buses. Metro is now in the CNG bus procurement process, and anticipates putting the new vehicles into service next year.
“We are appreciative of the U.S Department of Transportation for this grant that will go a long way toward modernizing our contracted bus fleet,” said John Fasana, Metro Board Chair and Duarte City Council Member. “This grant represents the largest award in the state of California under this discretionary U.S. DOT program, and it reflects our close federal partnership to give this region the best air quality and vehicle technology possible.”
As part of its procurement, Metro will purchase the cleanest CNG buses ever made. New CNG engines that will be placed in the new buses are 1,000 times cleaner than the diesel buses Metro operated during the 1980s and ‘90s. They will be particularly well suited to operate on contracted bus lines in the South Bay and Gateway Cities region, since these areas suffer from stubbornly poor air quality in part due to the heavy truck traffic traveling in and out of port areas. There are now only about 66 contracted diesel buses that have reached the end of their useful life remaining in the county. Metro has committed to replacing all of them in the coming years.
Metro currently has the largest CNG bus fleet in the country. In 1992, Metro’s Board of Directors adopted a policy to only purchase CNG buses. The agency now has 2,500 CNG buses that travel more than 85 million miles per year. In total, CNG buses have operated about 1.5 billion miles in the county since the program’s inception, and over the last 15 years, Metro has saved an average of 47 cents per mile on CNG fuel costs.
“Metro is already the nation’s leading operator of clean air CNG buses, but this new funding will help us expedite the replacement of a small number of diesel buses that are still in our contracted service fleets,” said Phillip A. Washington, Metro CEO. “We are now one step closer to completely eradicating diesel buses of any kind from the streets of Los Angeles County. I’d like to thank our partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation for helping us reach that goal.”