SunLine Transit Agency Approves Zero-Emissions Bus Rollout Plan

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SunLine Transit Agency’s board of directors has approved its Zero-Emissions Bus Rollout Plan, outlining how the agency will convert all vehicles to zero-emission technology by 2035, five years ahead of the deadline set by the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) Regulation.

CARB requires all public transit agencies to submit a board-approved Rollout Plan describing how they will gradually transition to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet. SunLine’s submission marked the first from a small-sized transit agency. The deadline to submit a Rollout Plan for an agency of SunLine’s size is 2023.

The agency has successfully completed the construction of a hydrogen electrolyzer, which has created infrastructure that promotes low- and zero-emission technology for the region and sets SunLine up well to establish a fleet that is entirely zero-emission. SunLine’s completion of its hydrogen electrolyzer, which is the largest producing station in the country for transportation, is an important step not only for the Coachella Valley but also for fuel cell vehicle adoption across the country. 

“SunLine Transit Agency wanted to ensure that we submitted our plan early to allow for other small to mid-size systems to have a model to follow. It also positions SunLine to be first in line for any grants or funding programs that expand our zero-emission program,” says Lauren Skiver, general manager and CEO of SunLine Transit Agency. 

“Our agency has a reputation for taking on a number of firsts in the industry, and it is an honor to be a part of the progress made for clean air and alternative fuel technology,” she adds.

According to the SunLine Rollout Plan, starting in 2021, all new fixed-route vehicle purchases will be zero-emission buses (ZEBs). Since each bus will operate for their entire useful life of 12-14 years, the last compressed natural gas (CNG) buses purchased will dictate the year in which the fleet is fully transitioned to zero-emission.

The paratransit cutaway buses will be replaced on schedule with the ICT regulation. However, the turnover of these vehicles is quicker because they are designed for a shorter lifespan. This will enable the paratransit CNG vehicles to be phased out of the fleet by 2030.

Photo: SunLine Transit Agency’s Clean Fleet web page

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