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Old 01-12-2011, 02:06 AM   #1
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LA, Ca. City buses

Diesel era ends for MTA buses
Metro will become the only major transit agency in the U.S. with a fleet run entirely on alternative fuels. Officials say the shift has sharply cut emissions of cancer-causing pollution.

By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times

January 12, 2011


After almost two decades of effort to reduce vehicle emissions, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will retire its last diesel bus Wednesday and become the only major transit agency in the nation with a fleet that is totally equipped with alternative-fuel technologies.

In an urban area where diesel buses began operating in 1940, the MTA now has 2,221 buses powered by compressed natural gas, as well as one electric bus and six gasoline-electric hybrids.

Transit officials estimate that the elimination of diesel engines has reduced the release of cancer-causing particulates from the bus fleet by 80% and greenhouse gases by about 300,000 pounds a day in one of the smoggiest areas of the country.

MTA officials say that compressed natural gas buses cost more to buy and maintain than those powered by diesel but that the increased expenses are offset over the long run by lower fuel costs.

"Not only is this an important step for air quality, it sets the bar for other transportation agencies to follow," said Joe Lyou, president of the Coalition for Clean Air, a statewide organization based in Los Angeles. "Now when an MTA bus pulls up, you don't run away anymore from the huge cloud of exhaust."

The last diesel coach is a 40-foot New Flyer purchased in 1998. It operated out of the MTA's Venice division, where it logged many of its 383,180 miles on routes along Wilshire Boulevard, Venice Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway.

No. 3004 will be ceremoniously retired and towed away during an event at the MTA's Support Services Center in downtown Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, MTA Chief Executive Art Leahy, other elected officials and members of the authority's board of directors will be on hand.

Officials plan to auction the vehicle, which is probably worth a few thousand dollars because of its parts. Before the sale, however, mechanics will disable the engine so no one can operate it again.

"We've been on this path for 20 years or longer," Leahy said. "What this means is that we are not importing as much foreign fuel to run our bus system and we are running on much cleaner fuel. It's a great day for Los Angeles."

Statistics from the American Public Transportation Assn. show that the MTA is well ahead of Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York and other large metropolitan areas in replacing diesel buses with more environmentally friendly vehicles.

According to the association, a couple of dozen smaller transit agencies, including those in Oxnard and Santa Barbara, have already replaced their entire fleets, while other agencies across the nation have made significant progress.

"I applaud Metro," said William Millar, president of the transportation association. "It is important to note that this achievement did not happen overnight. L.A. Metro and its predecessor organizations have been at the leading edge of clean bus fuel technology for about a quarter of a century."

The Southern California Rapid Transit District and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission began experimenting with alternative fuels such as natural gas, methanol and ethanol in the late 1980s. Those tests continued after both agencies became the MTA in 1993.

The MTA took delivery of its first natural gas buses in 1995. The technology has increased the price of a standard bus by about $50,000. Diesel coaches cost around $400,000.

Since then, the authority's clean-fuel buses have traveled about a billion miles, and officials say they regularly receive inquiries from transit agencies around the world interested in shifting to alternative power sources.

Though the MTA has converted its fleet, the agency still contracts with private bus lines that rely on diesel fuel. Of the 187 private buses, 82 have diesel engines, but transit officials say those should be phased out in the next several years.

dan.weikel@latimes.com
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:12 AM   #2
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Re: LA, Ca. City buses

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No. 3004 will be ceremoniously retired and towed away during an event at the MTA's Support Services Center in downtown Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, MTA Chief Executive Art Leahy, other elected officials and members of the authority's board of directors will be on hand.

Officials plan to auction the vehicle, which is probably worth a few thousand dollars because of its parts. Before the sale, however, mechanics will disable the engine so no one can operate it again.
OK, now THAT is stupid.

(Of course, if the rest of the bus is in good shape, a bus garage can swap in a rebuilt engine in a few hours...)
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:09 PM   #3
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Re: LA, Ca. City buses

And why would they disable the engine? I think living in CA is hazardous to your health. It seems to cause brain damage.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: LA, Ca. City buses

CARB (California Air Resources Board) subsidizes the purchase of these new buses with our tax money. One of the condiditons of getting that money is to crush the bus, or at least remove the engine so it can't be used. Most California school buses are going by the same way. CARB even regulates when the air is dirty (in their opinion) when you can have a fire in your fireplace...today it 's a no burn day. I'm sure my Crown with it's two stroke Detroit is on their hit list. And none of these people with all their wisdom in Sacramento are elected.

Went to Hawaii a few years back and was looking at the volcano spewing smoke. This lady near me remarked that it was an awesome site. I agreed, but told her if it were in California, CARB would make them put it out ... but then again when you know it's true
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:47 PM   #5
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Re: LA, Ca. City buses

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Originally Posted by browncrown
CARB (California Air Resources Board)

Went to Hawaii a few years back and was looking at the volcano spewing smoke. This lady near me remarked that it was an awesome site. I agreed, but told her if it were in California, CARB would make them put it out ... but then again when you know it's true
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:51 PM   #6
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Re: LA, Ca. City buses

Same thing they did with the cash for clunkers program...
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:38 AM   #7
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Re: LA, Ca. City buses

one of these days all of this disabling engines and stuff for this carb and cash for clunkers thing is gonna come back and bite some major corporation or entity in the ass so fricking hard that it will make headlines for years...
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