The city’s first regular electric bus line is currently humming along DTLA streets after debuting last month; the first of four buses to be eventually rolled out by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
Running on the City West-to-Arts District A route of the DASH service—the 50 cent buses that operate in various loops around the city—the bus will not only emit fewer emissions and less noise than the compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles typically used in the city, they’ll each save the city $16,000 a year in gasoline and maintenance costs. The buses can travel about 150 miles on a full charge, which only takes three hours at the buses’ maintenance facility in South L.A. On top of all that, they offer free wifi, something not offered on any other buses in the city.
With all these perks, you’d think the county transit agency—mammoth Metro—would be jumping on the electric bandwagon. Not so much. Unlike Pasadena’s Foothill Transit, which has embraced full-sized electric buses, Metro is sticking with its CNG buses for its approximately 2,400-bus fleet. Rumblings on Reddit indicate a recent electric pilot went sour, which spooked Metro from committing to plug-in transit until at least 2025 (commenters say the buses “had serious issues”).
While electric vehicles are greener than CNGs, we’ve already made huge strides from the days of diesel-powered RTD buses that would spew plumes of noxious fumes into the L.A. atmosphere.