Electric Buses Come to the Valley

This month, Metro finalized the conversion of the entire Orange Line (now known as the G Line) to zero-emission electric buses, achieving a goal that I initiated five years ago. Approximately 40 zero-emission Metro Liner buses now operate on the 18-mile dedicated busway between North Hollywood and Chatsworth. The new buses are cleaner for the atmosphere and quieter for the neighborhood, and they can be recharged at multiple points along the line to keep the buses running day and night, seven days a week.

Since I first joined the Metro board, I’ve looked for ways to increase the capacity of our public transit system, especially in the Valley, while making it cleaner, more efficient and environmentally sustainable. The completion of the transition of the G Line to all electric buses serves that long-term goal. 

Today’s G Line follows the right of way of the old Southern Pacific railroad, later used by Los Angeles’ fabled Pacific Electric Red Cars. When the last Red Car left on December 28, 1952, light rail and electric transportation both disappeared from the San Fernando Valley. Discussion of a new rail line in the Valley came to a halt in 1991 when the state legislature explicitly prohibited the construction of any new above-ground rail lines in the San Fernando Valley. (This law has recently been repealed, thanks to the efforts of our own Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian.)

While rail transit was blocked, the Orange Line BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) took over the historic route.  When it opened in 2005, the Orange Line represented a cleaner, more efficient option for people traveling back and forth across the San Fernando Valley. The Orange (G) Line has become the most successful BRT in the country, and today, the North Hollywood Metro Station is one of the busiest transit hubs in Los Angeles County.  

In 2016, the Metro Board approved my motion calling for conversion of the Orange Line to an all-electric bus fleet.  Later, the Board built on that commitment and approved a plan to convert the system’s entire bus fleet — the nation’s second largest — to 100 percent zero emissions by 2030.  This ambitious plan was made possible by the passage of Measure M.

In July 2020, the G Line was the first in the Metro system to deploy the new electric buses, and North Hollywood Station became the first electric bus charging location in the Valley.  Metro has now ordered 65 zero emission electric buses, including 60-foot articulated buses to be used on the G Line. 

As the City follows through with our LA100 plan to convert the entire Los Angeles electrical grid to carbon-free energy, these vehicles will be powered by clean electricity, improving our air quality and reducing our carbon footprint.