Lancaster – Amid the holiday bustle, the Stuff-a-Bus toy collections, and preparation for the Drive-Thru Grocery Giveaway, Antelope Valley Transit Authority’s electric buses rolled through another significant milestone as the nation’s first all-electric fixed route bus fleet. On Friday, December 11, 2020, the agency’s zero-emission buses that are currently deployed in service, quietly crossed the four million mile mark.
AVTA’s zero-emission buses collectively accumulated four million service miles moving residents of the Antelope Valley around Lancaster, Palmdale, and the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County such as Pearblossom, Littlerock, and Lake Los Angeles.
AVTA Chairman of the Board Marvin Crist highlighted some of the benefits to the community and beyond that are a result of the electrification of AVTA’s fleet.
“In those four million electric miles, approximately 1,025,641 gallons of diesel fuel have been saved,” said Chairman Crist. “This equates to a net savings of $1,283,449 in fuel costs after paying for electricity. Even more impressive, those four million all-electric miles represent a carbon footprint reduction of more than 24.3 million pounds of CO2 and 58,125 pounds of particulate matter."
Since February 2016, when the AVTA Board of Directors voted to award a contract to BYD to manufacture electric buses over a five year period at BYD’s facility in Lancaster, AVTA has been on the path to pioneering battery electric bus transportation. The project, which is nearing completion, has created a smarter, greener, and more interconnected transit system serving the Antelope Valley and areas extending south into the Los Angeles basin and north to Edwards Air Force Base and the Mojave Air and Space Port. By combining groundbreaking electric bus technology with wireless inductive charging technology, AVTA’s innovative bus project is the first of its kind in the nation.
“AVTA operates 65 vehicles in our local fixed route fleet, all of which are zero-emission,” continued Chairman Crist. “The non-electric buses are for commuter service only and their all-electric counterparts will start arriving in June 2021 assuring a transition of our commuter fleet to all electric by next December. The majority of AVTA’s electric fleet consists of BYD electric buses, manufactured right here in the Antelope Valley. Our goal from the start was to be the first transit agency to implement electric bus technology on a broad scale, and we have met that goal.”
Also in December, AVTA implemented local service route changes to Routes 1, 2, 3, and 52 that better utilizes new charging facilities now available at the Boulevard Transit Center on Lancaster Boulevard and the South Valley Transit Center at Palmdale Boulevard and 40th Street East. Although these were minor route adjustments, these changes allow AVTA to streamline Route 1, increase vehicle efficiency, reduce bus switch-outs, and incorporate the new South Valley Transit Center for inductive opportunity charging.
AVTA provides local, commuter and dial-a-ride service to a population of more than 450,000 residents in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale as well as the unincorporated portions of northern Los Angeles County. Its total service area covers 1,200 square miles and it is bounded by the Kern County line to the north, the San Bernardino County line to the east, the Angeles National Forest to the south, and Interstate 5 to the West.