Metro Details Plans on Transition to Zero-Emission Bus Fleet

by MCS Staff
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New details of Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan, presented at last week’s meeting of the Board of Directors, outlines how the agency will transition to a zero-emission bus fleet including testing and evaluation, infrastructure and facility upgrades, and procurement efforts. 

Per Metro: The Transition Plan, which is being developed this year, provides a phased approach and associated costs for investment in fleet, facilities, internal workforce, and operations to support a zero-emission bus service. Metro expects to purchase 12 electric buses and associated charging equipment this year as part of the Battery-Electric Bus Test and Evaluation Program. The buses will begin arriving late this year and go into service in 2023 out of the Shepherd Parkway Bus Division. The goal is to assess the interoperability of the buses with charging infrastructure from multiple manufacturers and evaluate performance in real world conditions for up to 12 months.
A $4.2 million Federal Transit Administration grant will support the purchase of electric buses for testing and evaluation.
“A more sustainable bus program is important to the region’s environmental goals, and the Board continues to look for opportunities with our partner jurisdictions and utilities to accelerate the timelines without compromising service,” said Metro Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg. “We continue to actively pursue grants that would help support the program and move Metrobus closer to a zero-emission future.”
Metro will stop purchasing diesel buses next year and will instead purchase a mix of lower- or zero-emission buses during a transition period so that all new buses entering service by 2030 will be electric or other zero-emission technology.
Beyond purchasing buses, this transition will require purchasing and installing charging equipment, training and workforce development, among other investments. The Northern and Bladensburg bus garages are undergoing redevelopment and will be designed to support electric buses – Northern will reopen in 2026 with the infrastructure and equipment needed to support 150 electric buses. At the same time, Metro is engaging with regional utilities to plan and invest in the grid infrastructure to provide the needed power to these facilities.
“We are committed to pursuing the work necessary for the Metrobus fleet, facilities and workforce to make the transition for zero-emission technology as quickly as possible,” said Metro Director of Zero-Emission Vehicles, Amy Mesrobian. “This will require a coordinated effort among Metro, our jurisdictional partners and regional utilities to build the infrastructure and facilities before we can operate an electric fleet.”
Based on preliminary estimates, completing the transition will require approximately $1-2 billion in capital investment over more than 20 years. The results of which will improve regional air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide customers with a quieter, more comfortable bus ride.
The full report is available on Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Program webpage.
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