Act now for clean buses tomorrow

Very soon (in September 2018), Oregon’s biggest user of diesel fuel will make a decision. Will TriMet invest in the cleanest buses for the future? Your comments can make a difference. Here are the details:

Right now, Portland’s transit provider, TriMet, is choosing how to invest public dollars dedicated to transit that come from a funding package passed by the 2017 Oregon Legislature. TriMet is taking public comments on the plan in September through an online form and open houses around the city.

TriMet’s plan includes many smart investments that will more equitably meet the needs of our communities with greater speed and reliability. They’ll make critical changes to better serve elderly, disabled, youth and low-income residents. OEC supports all of these investments. In addition, as an operator of more than 600 buses and with plans to double the size of the bus fleet in coming years, TriMet also has a critical responsibility to do their part for clean air and a stable climate.

That’s where your voice comes in.

Oregon Environmental Council, Climate Solutions and Environment Oregon have teamed up to advocate for some funds to be invested in replacing old dirty diesel buses with clean electric buses. You can join us! Use the online comment form to tell TriMet that you support:

  • retiring the oldest dirty diesel buses by 2035
  • buying electric buses when expanding the fleet; and
  • running electric buses in low-income neighborhoods where air pollution causes the greatest harm.

Here’s why we encourage TriMet to invest in electric buses now:

Securing a healthy climate in Oregon: When you choose to take a bus instead of drive, you reduce your carbon footprint by about 33%. For each of us to do our part, we need TriMet to do their part by offering convenient, reliable public transit that continues to cut carbon. Because electric buses are fueled by Oregon’s electricity mix, which is steadily transitioning to renewable sources, electric buses are practical way to cut climate pollution.

Securing healthy air in Oregon: Old heavy-duty diesel engines are one of the top sources of toxic pollutants threatening public health in Portland. The extremely fine sooty particles in diesel exhaust can deliver any of 44 different toxics deep into the lungs, affecting the brain and heart and raising the risk of cancer. Replacing old, dirty diesel engines with cleaner buses will make a big difference for public health—and electric buses are the cleanest practical alternative to diesel.

Securing the future of TriMet service: Moving to an electric fleet will save TriMet money over the lifetime of the fleet. If TriMet invests in electric buses today, it means that those saved dollars can be applied to future needs for service and reliability.

We urge you to voice your support for clean electric buses by filling out this quick comment form or visiting one of these open houses:

Open House Schedule
· Wednesday Sept 12, 5-7pm @ Clackamas Community College Harmony Campus (7726 SE Harmony Rd. Portland, OR 97222)
· Thursday Sept 13, 5-7pm @ Hillsboro Civic Center (150 E. Main St Hillsboro OR, 97123)
· Tuesday Sept 18, 5-7pm @ Oregon Ballroom (8900 SW Commercial St. Tigard, OR 97223)
· Wednesday Sept 19, 5-7pm @ Asian Health and Services Center (9035 SE Foster Rd)
· Thursday Sept 20, 5-7pm @ Gresham City Hall (1333 NW Eastman Pkwy Gresham, OR 97030)
· Tuesday Sept 25, 5-7pm @ Self Enhancement Inc. (3920 N. Kerby Ave. Portland, OR 97227)

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2 Replies to "Act now for clean buses tomorrow"

  • Bob Fankhauser
    September 15, 2018 (12:30 am)

    I strongly encourage TriMet to transition to electric buses ASAP and get rid of the old diesels even sooner. I realize there’s a significant capital investment in them, but as noted above, they’re a major source of rather toxic pollutants. It’s hard to know, but it’s likely that between decreased health costs and decreased operating costs, electric buses will be a good public investment. (I used to live in SF, where they had Marmon-Herrington trolley buses so old Methuselah used to drive one- they were as close to immortal as a machine can get.) (Granted, they didn’t have batteries.)

    And, FWIW, I strongly approve of TriMet’s recent expansion for 2 reasons- first, a lot of people are dependent on public transit by necessity- they simply can’t afford cars. Given that we depend on the cheap labor they supply, we owe them excellent public transit. Second, I think we should encourage all citizens to depend on public transit by choice and for that to happen, we need excellent public transit.

  • Jake Ochen
    August 7, 2019 (7:31 am)

    As an EV (electric vehicle) enthusiast I am a firm believer in electric cars for the general public. For most people, especially in the city, EV’s make great sense. Most folks drive relatively short distances (20-30 miles) to and from work. They drive there, the car sits most of the day, then they drive home. EV’s can be charged typically at home, and sometimes at work. EV’s are perfect for this scenario. However I have real skepticism with current battery technology as to how an Electric Bus will be able to transport folks all day long without recharging. Dont get wrong, I am all for EV’s and believe its a great choice for many folks. However I am also a realist, and wonder about the feasibility of a battery powered bus being able to operate a full day of service without recharging. It takes a huge amount of energy to accelerate a bus full of people. Granted regenerative braking will recapture a small amount of that energy, but its just that, a small amount of energy, in comparison that needed for acceleration, and parasitic losses.
    As I said, I am all for EV’s but I dont want to see my tax dollars wasted on some pretty new buses that get purchased, but quickly relegated to the back lot, because although they look pretty on paper, dont cut the mustard in the real world. If the electric buses can do everything the diesel buses can do, even if they are twice the price, I am all for them. However I have serious doubts that these buses will be able to achieve the amount of “up” time that a diesel bus is capable of. But hey, I am all for their success, so somebody please prove me wrong with real world numbers.