The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) announced it has released its Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan to cleaner bus service for the region with a proposal to transition to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet by 2042. This plan accelerates the timeline by three years, according to the agency's news release.
The move to zero-emission buses will require investments to work with local utilities to upgrade power supplies, install charging equipment and supporting infrastructure, and provide training and maintenance, in addition to the replacement cost of the nearly 1,600 bus fleet.
"We will continue to look for ways to further accelerate the transition to zero-emission buses, which provide customers with the same safe, reliable service at a much smaller carbon footprint," said Randy Clarke, Metro GM/CEO. "Every trip taken with Metro instead of a car reduces greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to zero-emission buses will deliver additional environmental and health benefits while improving the quality of life for people across the region."
Under the new timeline, half of Metro's fleet will be zero-emission buses in 10 years. To accommodate the new buses, Metro added that it will open its first all zero-emission bus garage at Northern in 2027, with five of Metro’s nine garages ready for zero-emission buses by 2031 and the remaining by 2041.
Metro will initially deploy battery-electric buses. Hydrogen fuel cell technology will continue to be evaluated as the cost, technology, and commercial viability evolve.
The cost of the transition over the lifecycle is estimated to be $2.3 billion above the costs associated with the existing fleet.
Metro said it will also seek additional federal, state, and regional funding opportunities, such as grant funds, to help fund the transition.
Zero-emission bus deployment is expected to begin this year from Metro's Shepherd Parkway Bus Division. Metro received a $4.2 million Federal Transit Administration grant to support the purchase of two electric buses. Metro also recently awarded contracts to two bus manufacturers to provide five buses each.