King county Metro retires the last diesel bus

Saturday, October 24, 2020

King county Executive Dow Constantine celebrates the retirement of the last diesel bus in the Metro fleet. Photo courtesy King county.

On Friday, October 23, 2020 King county Metro retired the last of their diesel only coaches, a step toward reducing our GHG emissions and continuing transition to a zero-emission future, one of the goals set in Executive Constantine's Strategic Climate Action Plan.

After 21 years of service to the residents of King County, King County Metro is celebrating the “retirement” of the last diesel-only coaches in its fleet, continuing the agency’s commitment to a zero-emission future.

After the first “1100” model coaches joined Metro in 1999, the fleet had 1,100 diesel-only coaches. Today, that number is zero. All Metro coaches are now either fully-hybrid (diesel-electric) or zero-emission coaches (electric trolleys and battery-electric coaches). Metro proudly joins only a handful of large transit agencies in the U.S. that have a fleet that does not include fully-diesel coaches.

However, the “1100” model coaches long served as the workhorse of Metro’s fleet, leaving behind a legacy of providing a safe, reliable alternative to single-occupancy vehicles, logging more than 62 million miles, and carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Five years after the “1100” model coaches’ introduction, Metro purchased the first of its hybrid (diesel-electric) coaches and the transition to more environmentally-friendly coaches began. Then, in 2015 and again in 2020, Metro committed to help meet the goals of King County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP).

Prior to the pandemic, public transportation in King County helped take an estimated 190,000 cars off the road each weekday across King County. Transitioning from diesel-only buses to hybrid buses made an already green system even greener by generating 17% fewer greenhouse gases and 97% fewer particulate air pollution emissions per bus.

Additionally, Metro’s entire fleet will be comprised of zero-emission vehicles powered by renewable energy by 2040 or sooner, as technology and capital projects allow. Moving to an entirely zero-emission fleet powered by renewable energy allows for the elimination of all emissions while keeping our county moving forward. Once this transition is complete fleetwide, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking another 30,000 cars off the road.

In spring 2021, 40 new battery-electric coaches will roll off Metro bases and onto the streets of King County. These New Flyer vehicles are the next generation of coaches and, by 2028, Metro will add 260 more battery-electric buses to the fleet along with the accompanying charging infrastructure. This transition supports Metro’s “Mobility Framework”—the agency’s blueprint for centering equity and sustainability in our policies—recommendation in meeting the county’s climate goals by electrifying Metro’s fleet and promoting climate justice.


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