After Metro Transit cancelled a large planned diesel bus purchase in September, Fresh Energy and partner organizations have been eagerly awaiting news on the agency’s next move and signals that they will be moving toward buses powered by renewable electricity instead of polluting fossil fuels. Given that Metro Transit currently runs a fleet of approximately 900 transit buses, electrification of their fleet has a broad impact on outdoor air quality and public health.
This Monday afternoon, Metro Transit released their electric bus evaluation plan—and the news is positive. The agency expects to convert their entire fleet to 100 percent electric by 2040. And changes should be coming soon: Metro Transit is only weeks away from delivery of its first battery electric, 60-foot bus. In addition, eight electric buses will immediately serve the C Line connecting downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center, which is expected to start service next spring. The buses will cover a 17-mile round trip, using electric chargers in Metro Transit garages and along the route.
The Coalition for Clean Transportation—of which Fresh Energy is a member—is very pleased by the decision. We are optimistic Minneapolis and Saint Paul can join the ranks of other cities across the world committed to 100 percent electric buses. Fresh Energy’s Energy Access and Equity Policy Associate, Janiece Watts, who has worked with the coalition closely, sees the plan as a critical piece to transitioning Minnesota to a livable environment free from fossil fuel emissions where everyone can travel without the burden of pollution safely and economically:
“Metro Transit’s announcement to develop a plan for full electrification of the bus fleet is a welcomed step towards reducing air pollution and its negative health impacts. This constitutes bold action on climate change. Electrification of our public buses is a significant way of demonstrating how government and community can work together to craft policies and plans for the health, safety and sustainability of our planet and people. Policies make this transition possible, but only with vision, leadership and inclusion of all those impacted. We are energized that Minnesota will continue to be a leader in safe, accessible and efficient electric transportation.”
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