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Rider's Almanac Blog

C Line

Challenges don’t change our commitment to electric buses

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, October 9, 2019 1:51:00 PM

A METRO C Line bus. There’s a certain amount of uncertainty that comes with trying something new – like using some of the country’s first 60-foot electric buses. But facing the unknown and accepting that things may not always go as planned is necessary to evolve.

That’s exactly what’s happening with Metro Transit’s electric bus pilot, which began this summer when eight electric buses were put into service on the METRO C Line.

In early October, these electric buses were removed from service amid ongoing efforts to resolve issues between the buses and charging stations at Heywood Garage. New Flyer spent much of the last week at Metro Transit working to resolve the issues that led to that decision.

In the meantime, diesel buses are being used on the C Line so customers experience no service impacts.

While disappointing, this setback does not diminish Metro Transit’s plans to continue purchasing electric buses in the future as funding allows.

Under Metro Transit’s proposed 2020-2025 capital spending plan, eight 40-foot electric buses will be purchased for use on local routes beginning in 2020 or 2021. The plan was presented to the Metropolitan Council on Wednesday, Oct. 9, and will be approved by Council Members in its final form later this year.

Earlier plans had called for the purchase of 19 electric buses in 2020 or 2021, pending new funding. With no new funding forthcoming this past legislative session, the eight new buses were funded within existing budget constraints. Currently, the cost of an electric bus, including charging infrastructure, is about twice that of a diesel bus.

Metro Transit will continue to consider additional electric bus purchases as service, fleet and budget plans evolve in the future. The agency currently has more than 900 buses, including more than 130 hybrid-electric buses that are partially powered by batteries.

Thank you for riding with us as we continue to lead the transition to electric bus technology.