Clean transportation: Orange line goes green

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s G Line (Orange) is the first to go fully electric.

By Annette M. Lesure, Staff Writer

Four pedestrians find a dry place in the rain, boarding the fully electric Orange Metro line in Valley Glen, bound for North Hollywood on Monday Oct. 25 (Photo by Christopher Perez/The Valley Star)

The San Fernando Valley Metro G Line (Orange) which travels from North Hollywood to Chatsworth now operates 40 electric buses that can run for 150 miles and recharge within 30 minutes.

The Metro agency went green as they added 40 new, zero-emission 60-foot electric buses, retiring all natural-gas buses on the G line, which now has three rapid charging stations on the route The improvements will provide clean air, less noise and are the beginning of the future for Los Angeles. As the third-largest transit agency in the United States after New York and Chicago, LA Metro, which receives funding from taxpayer dollars, has “ambitious” plans to go all-electric in L.A. County by 2030.

“The buses are super quiet and that’s really good for the communities that adjoin the 18-mile bus-way,” said Dave Sotero, LA Metro communications director. “Equity Focus Communities on the G line are those that may not get the types of improvements that other communities may get, so the electric buses are running through these communities and bringing environmental benefits to [them].”

One environmental health benefit instantly arising from the change on the Orange line is cleaner air. For the residents, better air quality means healthier lungs in an area that continues to rank "as the most ozone-polluted city in the United States," according to a 2021 "State of the Air" report by the American Lung Association.

Will Barrett, director of clean air advocacy for California’s American Lung Association, said that California is a leader in clean air policies but all communities should have access to the benefits of healthy air.

According to Globe News Network, there are currently around 650 electric buses in the United States and demand for zero-emission public transportation is growing faster than production due to government initiatives.

As the largest transportation agency in the United States, LA Metro is the first to initiate such a large environmental sustainability project. Future plans to advance to other parts of the Metro are contingent upon new developments in electric bus technology. Such progress includes battery life, range, reduction of charging times and cost.

“The 2020’s will be defined as the decade for climate action,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement, who is a board member on LA Metro. “Now, more than ever, bold and ambitious policies are needed to tackle climate change. Metro’s transition to electric buses on the G Line is a perfect example of a bold policy made real. We have proven that these next-generation buses are fully capable of meeting this popular bus line’s daily service needs.”

The $80 million project which included the new electric buses, equipment and improvements, also provides WiFi, air conditioning, and USB charging ports for added commuter convenience.

The modernizing of the Los Angeles transit system is a big commitment and long-term investment with plans that include converting the G line to an inner-city light rail line in the SFV in the next 20 years.

“Today we are working tirelessly to create a more environmentally sustainable, equitable and resilient public transportation system for all our customers,” said Stephanie N. Wiggins, LA Metro CEO, in a statement. “Our zero-emission bus goals are an important part of our overall strategy to reduce our agency’s carbon footprint and become carbon neutral. We continue as a transit leader in our march towards a more sustainable and resilient transportation system that will benefit our customers, our industry and our planet.”

The LA Metro is committed to the American Public Transportation Association Health and Safety Commitment Program to keep riders safe as the city turns the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic.

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