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Foothill Transit Brings the First Electric Double Decker Bus to the United States

Published on Sunday, July 15, 2018 | 5:23 am
Soon to be seen on the streets of Pasadena? Image courtesy Foothill Transit

Foothill Transit, which provides community-oriented environmentally friendly bus service throughout San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, including express bus routes to Pasadena, is acquiring an electric version of the Alexander Dennis, Inc. double deck bus – the Enviro500EV.

When it debuts in the Foothill Transit’s Southern California fleet next year, the vehicle will become the first electric double-decker in service in North America.

Foothill Transit first demonstrated the ADI double deck bus on its downtown Los Angeles routes in October 2016, gathering enthusiastic customer response and proving that California was hungry for good design, smart public transit, and vastly improved ride quality.

The Enviro500EV will be 13-feet-six inches tall and will be completely zero-emission, thanks to an ADI partnership with Proterra, who will supply the battery and drive train technology. Foothill Transit already operates 30 Proterra electric buses in its fleet.

The bus acquisition is part of Foothill Transit’s commitment to go all electric by the year 2030.

Foothill Transit has been leading in electric bus integration since 2010 when it became the first public transit agency in the nation to deploy three Proterra fast-charge all-electric buses on the 16.1-mile Line 291 between Pomona and La Verne, which became the first all-electric fast charge bus line in the nation in 2014. To date, Foothill Transit’s electric fleet had logged over one and a half million miles of service in Southern California.

The purchase of these two electric double deck buses from ADI is made possible by a Metro Express Lanes Toll Revenue Capital Grant of $1.4 million awarded to Foothill Transit in 2018. The buses will replace two 12-year-old compressed natural gas commuter express buses.

While a 40-foot CNG bus can carry approximately 38 customers, the Enviro500EV bus can carry 80 customers in the same road footprint, doubling the trip capacity with half the number of vehicles. Foothill Transit will thus have greater flexibility in choosing from limited stop locations in downtown Los Angeles where road space is at a premium.

“Deploying the Enviro500EV will be transformative for Los Angeles and for the United States,” said Doran Barnes, Foothill Transit Executive Director. “No other transit agency in the country utilizes this technology on commuter express routes. And adding seats without increasing traffic congestion or local greenhouse gas emissions is the ultimate benefit for one of the nation’s most heavily traveled corridors.”

ADI President Robert Davey said their double deck buses “have helped revolutionize passenger transport in cities across North America and around the world” by transporting the highest number of passengers on the same road occupancy footprint as single deck vehicles.

“We’re now seeing increasing global demand for electric buses which combine the same high passenger capacity and outstanding comfort, with zero emission technology,” Davey said. “As congestion and local air quality challenges remain top of every transit authorities’ agenda, we’re excited to raise the bar in Los Angeles County with transit pioneer, Foothill Transit, and heavy-duty electric vehicle technology innovator, Proterra.”

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