LA County MTA Retires Last Diesel Bus

(January 13, 2011)


January 13, 2011

Los Angeles - Los Angeles public transportation system entered a new era today when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority retired its last diesel bus.

Agency officials celebrated the milestone, calling Metro the first big-city transit agency to have all its buses running on alternative fuels.

"What Metro has achieved transcends Los Angeles County," board chairman and Supervisor Don Knabe said. "We proved from both a technical and economic standpoint that a large transit agency can operate with alternative, clean-burning fuels, and this has led many other transit agencies to follow our lead."

Though diesel-engine technology has come a long way, old-style buses were known for spewing black clouds of cancer-causing soot. In 1993, Metro's board of directors started plotting their elimination.

After experimenting with methanol and ethanol buses, Metro ultimately went with buses that run on compressed natural gas.

Today, it has 2,221 CNG buses, plus six gasoline-electric hybrid buses and one electric bus.

"When I was growing up in Los Angeles, I remember days when the air was too smoggy to go outside and play, and today we understand how crucial clean air is for the health of our kids and communities," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "I'm proud that our entirely clean-fueled fleet is a key element of greening Los Angeles, and we're simultaneously improving mobility, customer service and air quality with these new clean fueled buses."

Jane Warner, president and CEO of the American Lung Association in California, praised the agency.  "By acquiring cleaner fueled buses, Metro is helping to address the region's serious pollution problems and reduce smog-related illnesses and deaths," she said.

The city's Department of Transportation also uses alternative fuels in all of its 205-bus DASH fleet. The agency is in the process of converting its 105 bus Commuter Express fleet to alternative fuels as well.