bus h (copy)

This is one of the first-generation electric buses operated by Long Beach Transit.

Long Beach Transit's board of directors is set to take another step toward a zero emissions bus fleet today, Thursday, March 25, by ordering 20 battery electric buses at a cost of almost $23 million.

LBT has committed to purchasing nothing but zero emission buses going forward. Currently, its fleet of 250 buses is 90% alternatively fueled — 125 compressed natural gas (CNG), 88 gasoline-electric hybrids, 26 diesels and 10 battery-electric buses. The agency's policy is to replace buses at the end of their useful life — 12 years or 500,000 miles.

The next 20 buses will replace diesel and gasoline-electric hybrids, according to the staff report. These buses from New Flyer in Winnipeg, Canada, will be 30-35 feet long and have low floors, making them easier to maneuver on residential streets such as Ximeno Avenue.

The bidding process began in January 2020, with four companies submitting proposals. BYD Motors Inc. in Lancaster, Calif., was the second company considered after bid evaluations.

Funding for the purchase comes primarily from state and federal grants.

These 20 buses will cost $21,836,559 plus a 5% contingency of $1,091,828. The contract also includes an option to purchase 20 more buses.

Assuming there are no major delays, Long Beach Transit should take delivery of the first new buses in late 2022 or early 2023.

—Harry Saltzgaver

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Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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