MTS begins testing battery-powered electric buses

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SAN DIEGO -- The Metropolitan Transit District launched passenger service on the first of six battery-powered electric buses that will be deployed as part of a pilot program, transit authorities said Monday.

The new electric bus carried passengers on Route 13, which runs from the 24th Street Transit Center in National City to Kaiser Hospital. The other five electric buses will roll out in the coming weeks as part of a two-year test program that was first announced earlier this year.

"Our new electric buses represent a strong step forward to a greener, cleaner and better connected transit system in San Diego,' said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who chairman of Metropolitan Transit System and also serves on the California Air Resources Board. "I’m proud to be part of an organization that is taking new technologies that push us towards a greener future."

The electric buses can travel about 150 miles on a charge, and many MTS bus routes are less than 150 miles, MTS officials said. The transit district plans on testing the new buses on routes 1, 2, 4, 10, 13, 815 905 and 936. If the tests go well, MTS hopes to replace many of its buses that run on compressed natural gas with electric buses as it transitions to a zero-emission fleet.

The pilot program has a budget of $12.5 million, which includes the cost of buses and charging infrastructure.

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