Los Angeles Department of Transportation Orders 25 Proterra Electric Buses

JAN 16 2018 BY MARK KANE 24

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) made use of a FTA Low-No Grant to order 25 35-foot Proterra Catalyst electric buses.

Proterra Catalyst – estimated savings

The vehicles are to be delivered in 2019 as part of a broader commitment to have an all-electric bus fleet by 2030.

LADOT estimates that the 35-foot Proterra Catalyst will save some $11.2 million over 12 years, which is nearly $500,000 per bus.

“LADOT Transit provided 21,536,305 passenger trips in 2016 within Los Angeles, across 468 square miles. The agency has committed to electrifying all 359 fleet vehicles by 2030. Proterra battery-electric buses will replace CNG buses that emit more than 7.8 million lbs. of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions annually. In addition to the environmental and health benefits, the new buses will deliver anticipated cost savings of $11.2 million to LADOT Transit over a 12-year lifetime since they require less energy to operate and have reduced maintenance costs.”

Seleta Reynolds, LADOT’s general manager said:

“Our goal is a 100 percent electric bus fleet – it’s a quiet ride for our customers and cleaner air for our city. We know we can’t achieve our vision without partners like Proterra, and we can’t wait to see these buses on the street!”

With this latest order, Proterra has sold nearly 500 buses (delivered or ordered).

LADOT is not the only bus operator in California that intends to go all-electric in the mid-term:

“This commitment from LADOT contributes to a larger precedent in Southern California set by neighboring transportation agencies, including Foothill Transit, The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) and Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) to go fully electric over the next 15 years. In 2016, Foothill Transit, a 361-bus fleet servicing passengers within the San Gabriel Valley, including express bus routes to Pasadena and Downtown Los Angeles, made a commitment to fully electrify its fleet by 2030. AVTA also made a commitment to convert its 85-bus fleet to battery-electric buses by 2018. This year, LA Metro, a 2,200 bus fleet, followed with a similar commitment to convert all its vehicles to battery-electric buses by 2030. This transition in Southern California will result in one of the heaviest concentrations of electric buses in North America.”

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24 Comments on "Los Angeles Department of Transportation Orders 25 Proterra Electric Buses"

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Hmmm. So, they’re going to purchase 1/12th every year for a 12 year replacement cycle. That makes economic sense. Too bad they just can’t replace them all today. Because the lifecycle may be different and better.

Too bad they can’t get rid of all money sucking “public transport” and instead contract out to Uber/Lyft/Taxi.

Waze would be much less expensive to implement than a Uber, Lyft, and especially a TAXI plan.

An all encompassing Waze ride share plan, would require the private citizenry to incorporate a certain shared % of all private commuting miles. If one chose to opt out of the required allotment of shared miles, then they would subsidize some other driver to pick up their outsourced share. That way nobody pays more to keep the mass transit system infrastructure in place for daily commuters.

I’m sure there are even cheaper options. But the point I’m making is that contracting out to private companies will be cheaper than running public transport not to mention whole lot better rider experience.

Gosh yes, using 30-50 passenger cars to carry passengers would be so much cheaper than using mass transit. Also, it would create less pollution and cause less road congestion. /snark

But only in SparkEV’s paranoid fantasy world, where bus passengers are all filthy, disease-spreading vermin who use bus seats for urinals and ought to be exterminated.

In the real world… not so much.

30-50 passenger cars are called buses while will result in same terrible rider experience.

If you get out of fantasyland and come to reality, bus average speed is less than 20 MPH while on bus, far less if you count the time you spend to get to/from bus station.

For me, actual average speed to take the city bus 5 miles is about 5 MPH due to bus stop being couple of miles away (about 30 min walk). Car averages about 30 MPH with moderate traffic, 20 MPH even with heavy traffic.

Compared to cars buses are HORRIBLE even if they didn’t smell like urine. Yet public transport cost as much to operate as giving taxi rides.

Ignoring the impact on traffic volume, the major constraint is _drivers_, since it would multiply the number of “bus” drivers required for the morning and evening rushes.

All the extra taxi driving jobs would have limited hours, and the required coverage would make it hard for people to make up the remaining hours.

Once we have autonomous vehicles, _then_ “buses” would be able to downsize.

30-50 passenger cars are called buses. Push clearly explained to you Sparky that your idea hasn’t been thought out and you still haven’t got it through your thick skull.

It wouldn’t be cheaper, especially not in LA. And that’s before taking into account the cost imposed by the additional congestion that would cause.

If cars operated exactly like buses where they must only operate on busy roads and frequently block traffic on the busiest of roads to pick up passengers every block, then yes, congestion will increase.

But cars do not make frequent stops blocking traffic at busy roads. If anything, cars will cause fewer traffic since they can use smaller streets instead of rigidly sticking to congested main roads (eg Waze app).

As for cost, if you ask the bus operators (ie, city), of course they’ll say buses are cheaper. But the reality is far different. I’ll let you figure it out, because there’s no way to convert the faithful other than they discovering for themselves.

NYC is having this problem. Mass transit ridership is down due to uber/lyft. Now they need to figure out how to fit 25,000 extra cars into an already congested system.

Wow replacing 3,005 buses t electric bus by 2030 is great. I wonder how many were diesel buses.
Go California

I can’t say with certainty but I’m guessing either 0 or very few. I can’t remember the last time I saw a diesel bus up there. Well, apart from a school bus!

Yeah that’s what is still needed are electric school buses.

Indeed! The public health hazard of daily exposure of school children to diesel fumes, from riding school buses, is something which has been documented but is largely ignored. My guess is it’s a significant contributing cause of so many school-aged children these days having asthma.

Most SoCal transit agencies have ditched their diesel buses years ago.

So are most running on CNG, or are they already using EV buses, or what?

Of buses purchased in the past 5 years, I would bet that 95% were CNG, 4% were diesel and 1% were electric. But that isn’t even a SWAG, it is more of a guess based in large part on what the DC Metro area has purchased lately.

Yet again: Tipping points. Ever-lower battery prices are dragging us closer to two exceedingly interesting tipping points in terms of EV adoption: Private vehicles (meaning cars and single vehicle businesses, like many tradesmen or florists) and fleets of buses and local delivery trucks.

This is why I keep stressing that the EV situation will likely go VERY non-linear in just a few years, with fleets leading the way. It takes very little investment for a school district to add chargers to an existing garage and start benefiting from EV buses. Right now, the price of those EV buses is preventing their mass adoption, even taking into account their much lower marginal operating costs. But it won’t be much longer before lower TCO values show up on the spreadsheets at a lot of school districts, and then things get very interesting.

Proterra will be busy! DART is about to receive their first order of their electric buses as well!


It is just Wikipedia, but the Proterra Wiki page has had Proterra’s delivered electric buses at 276 for the past 3 months or so. LA’s 25 and DART’s 35 will be a nice step up for Proterra as they get delivered. It sounds like DART will get most of theirs before LA gets theirs.

Genius. I wish Austin had electric buses. I’ll keep writing the city.

It’s a great concept and wish more bus agencies would benefit the electric busses.

Also if some people got out of their cars and take the bus or even walk when acceptable it will relieve some traffic and will be less pollution to deal with.