Local transit officials no longer are blowing hot air about the emissions coming out of Metro buses.
Board members Thursday approved a plan for all new Metropolitan Transit Authority buses to produce zero emissions by 2030, setting one of the largest bus fleets in the nation on a path to pull away from diesel engines and toward electric, hydrogen or some other alternative.
“It could not be more vital to take this step forward,” Chairwoman Carrin Patman said. “We have the capability to do it and the expertise to do it.”
The commitment came with the board’s approval of the purchase of 20 electric buses — part of a pilot to further test battery-driven buses and how well they perform in the heat of a Houston summer. Setting a goal is part of Metro’s work to create an agency climate action plan, which will be written by a committee led by former Harris County Clerk and Metro board member Chris Hollins.
The change will not happen overnight, transit officials acknowledged. Metro, with a fleet of more than 1,200 buses, typically buys about 100 new buses a year.
Board members said in the interim they expect Metro to move aggressively but deliberately to new engines, either more natural gas, which is cleaner than diesel, or hundreds of new electric or hydrogen buses.
“Every step in that direction will be helpful,” Metro board member Sanjay Ramabhadran said last week during a discussion of agency’s goals.
See here for the background. A bit of wiggle room in that commitment, which is more about phasing out diesel than onboarding a particular technology, but that’s fine. I look forward to seeing which way they wind up going.