When the City of Duarte rolled out its new electric transit buses last spring, it became the first city in Southern California with an all-electric transit fleet. The City purchased two 35-foot Proterra electric buses and is leasing to buy a third bus in partnership with Foothill Transit. These buses add to Foothill Transit’s fleet of more than 30 electric buses, which have driven nearly 2 million electric miles to serve residents in the San Gabriel Valley.
“We contract with Foothill Transit for the operation and maintenance of our buses, which is a unique partnership that has afforded a small city like Duarte to benefit from the extensive knowledge and leadership that Foothill Transit brings to the table as a regional transit agency that is a leader in the field of public transportation,” explained Kristen Petersen, Duarte’s Assistant City Manager.
The MSRC awarded the City of Duarte $50,000 in Clean Transportation Funding through its Local Government Partnership Program to help fund these buses. This Program is designed to fund clean air projects to “jumpstart” implementation of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 2016 Air Quality Management Plan. The investment also helps the City meet the requirements of the Innovative Clean Transit Rule’s requirement for 100% new ZEV bus purchases by 2030 more than a decade early. The MSRC partners with local agencies, like Duarte, that want to invest in clean air but might lack the resources to fulfill its goals. “Purchasing electric buses for a small organization such as Duarte was costly upfront, so we looked for every bit of funding possible to assist us with the purchase,” Kristen noted. The City expects that the operational savings over the lifetime of the buses will make the total cost of ownership pragmatic for the City’s bottom line.
“The public, the community and our employees have been very excited about Duarte's transition to electric buses and becoming a more environmentally friendly transportation provider,” Kristen said. “The City has received a lot of positive feedback on the reduction in air pollution and noise pollution from residents and businesses located along the routes.”
The buses serve the "duartEbus" system that is operated by Foothill Transit. The Line 860 Blue route and Line 861 Green route serve the local Duarte community by connecting residential neighborhoods to commercial corridors and regional transportation, including the Metro Gold Line and Foothill Transit regional routes.
According to the City, these buses are projected to reduce GHG emissions by more than 227 tons per year. The City’s old diesel buses emitted approximately 1,456 pounds of GHG daily, or more than 450,000 pounds annually based on a six-day per week service.