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Municipal Services Committee Gets Onboard the Pasadena Zero Emission Bus Roll Out Plan

Published on Thursday, January 26, 2023 | 5:56 am

An example of in-depot overhead bus charging. [Calstart]
The Municipal Services Committee has voted to support the adoption of the Pasadena Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Roll Out Plan that provides a roadmap to transition the City’s public transit fleet to a ZEB fleet by 2040.

Three members voted in favor of the adoption of the resolution. One member voted against it.

The plan was developed by the transportation department to meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirement for all public transit operators in California to transition to 100 percent ZEB fleets by 2040.

It identifies the proposed roadmap to transition the Pasadena transit fleet to a full deployment of a ZEB fleet by 2037 and start the transition as early as 2023.

Aside from the ZEB technology that will be implemented under the plan, the Rollout Plan also identifies the infrastructure needed, a training plan for drivers and maintenance staff, and potential funding sources to advance the plan’s implementation.

The plan also provides the Pasadena Dial-A-Ride and Pasadena Transit’s Fleet Replacement Plans.

As indicated in the Pasadena Dial-A-Ride Fleet Replacement Plan, two buses reaching their average useful life in 2023 are set to be replaced with two renewable natural gas (RNG) unleaded buses.

According to the plan, seven Pasadena Dial-A-Ride buses need replacement by 2024. The plan indicates that one of the seven will be replaced with a ZEB. The rest will be replaced with ZEBs if funding is available.

The plan also provides that a total of 12 Pasadena Transit buses need to be replaced by 2023 and 2024. 11 of these buses will be replaced by RNG unleaded buses. Only one will be replaced by a ZEB.

Transportation Director Laura Cornejo said the plan reflects available resources and is “flexible.”

“We can be more aggressive. This is a more conservative approach given the resources we have now.”

“If we are able to secure funding and infrastructure sooner, we will start transitioning to zero emission much sooner. We’re hoping to hear back on the funding for the transit operations and maintenance facility. Getting that built would be a gamechanger for the city.”

City Principal Planner Sebastian Andrés Hernández said the transportation department is working actively to get additional funding to replace all buses that need to be replaced by 2023 and 2024 with ZEBs.

Councilmember Tyron Hampton voted no to the resolution.

“Why would we be purchasing another gas bus if in five, six years that gas bus is going to be completely devalued and the state will probably tell us that no one can even buy it and run it anymore?”

“I’m not in favor of moving forward with buying any more gas operated vehicles,” Hampton said.

The city has until July 1, 2023 to adopt the ZEB Rollout Plan.

Once adopted by the City Council, staff will submit the Rollout Plan to CARB and will pursue local, state and federal competitive grant funding opportunities to advance the plan’s implementation.

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