Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Election 2020: Live Results | Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

Metropolitan Transit System Seeks Input On Converting Buses To Zero-Emissions

A new battery-powered bus sits in the MTS bus yard, Oct. 22, 2019.

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: A new battery-powered bus sits in the MTS bus yard, Oct. 22, 2019.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will hold an online workshop Tuesday to get public input on its 20-year plan to convert its fleet of 800 buses to zero-emissions.

The transition to zero-emissions will theoretically help the region reduce air pollution, create healthier communities and help achieve climate action goals, an MTS statement said.

"We launched our Zero Emissions Bus Pilot Program last October and the results have been very positive for the environment, our passengers and vehicle performance," said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who is chairman of MTS and also serves on the California Air Resources Board. "The next step is to gather public feedback on transitioning the entire fleet. We encourage the public to participate, and to learn more about our plans to create a greener, cleaner and better connected transit system in San Diego."

MTS has already begun converting its bus fleet to zero emissions through the pilot program and has drafted a plan to complete a full electric conversion by 2040. The workshop will offer the public a chance to learn and weigh in on the transition plan. The MTS Board of Directors will consider all public comments prior to submitting the plan to the state board as required by the law.

MTS's battery-electric buses are first-of-their-kind in the region. Since October 2019, MTS has acquired six New Flyer Xcelsior Charge battery electric buses. Two more electric buses are on the way. MTS is currently running the electric buses on 17 routes and will include 11 more once charging facilities are functioning at its facilities in South Bay and East County.

Performance results from the pilot program will be shared during the workshop. The battery-electric buses have an approximate range of 150 miles per charge. Range is dependent on many factors, including driving characteristics, weather, topography and more. Many MTS bus routes are 150 miles or less, according to the agency.

MTS already operates 135 zero-emissions trolleys. For its bus fleet, MTS converted to Compress Natural Gas fuel, deploy near-zero emission engines and purchase 100 percent renewable biogas.

MTS continues to operate about 95 bus routes and three trolley lines. Frequencies are near-pre-COVID-19 levels, officials said.

The workshop starts at 4 p.m., and is available in English and Spanish. Registration can be accessed on the MTS workshop's website.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.