Foothill Transit Doubles Up on Electric Buses

Foothill Transit, the American public transportation leader in electric bus deployment, has committed to purchasing an electric version of the Alexander Dennis Inc. (ADI) double deck bus. The Enviro500EV will debut in the Foothill Transit’s Southern California fleet in 2019.

Foothill Transit first demonstrated the ADI double deck bus on its downtown Los Angeles routes in October 2016. The customer response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, proving that California was hungry for good design, smart public transit, and vastly improved ride quality. The Enviro500EV will be 13’6” tall and will be completely zero emissions thanks to an ADI partnership with Proterra, who will supply the battery and drive train technology. Foothill Transit already operates 30 Proterra electric buses in its fleet. This bus acquisition is part of Foothill Transit’s commitment to go all electric by 2030.

Foothill Transit’s leadership in electric bus integration began in 2010 when it became the first public transit agency in the nation to deploy three Proterra fast-charge, all electric buses on the 16.1-mile Line 291 between the cities of Pomona and La Verne. Line 291 then became the first all-electric fast charge bus line in the nation in 2014 and to date, Foothill Transit’s electric fleet had logged over one and a half million miles of service in Southern California.

The purchase of these two electric double deck buses from ADI is made possible by a Metro Express Lanes Toll Revenue Capital Grant awarded to Foothill Transit in 2018 for $1.4M. Foothill Transit will replace two 12-year old compressed natural gas (CNG) commuter express buses with two ADI Enviro500EVs.

One 40-foot CNG bus can carry approximately 38 customers. The Enviro500EV bus can carry 80 customers in the same road footprint, thereby doubling the trip capacity with half the number of vehicles. Carrying more people in the same footprint allows Foothill Transit greater flexibility in choosing from limited stop locations in downtown Los Angeles, where road space is at a premium.

“Deploying the Enviro500EV will be transformative for Los Angeles and for the United States,” said Doran Barnes, Executive Director of Foothill Transit. “No other transit agency in the country utilizes this technology on commuter express routes. And adding seats without increasing traffic congestion or local greenhouse gas emissions is the ultimate benefit for one of the nation’s most heavily traveled corridors.”

“Our double deck buses have helped revolutionize passenger transport in cities across North America and around the world by transporting the highest number of passengers, seated in comfort and safety, on the same road occupancy footprint as single deck vehicles. We’re now seeing increasing global demand for electric buses which combine the same high passenger capacity and outstanding comfort, with zero emission technology,” said Robert Davey, President of Alexander Dennis Inc. “As congestion and local air quality challenges remain top of every transit authorities’ agenda, we’re excited to raise the bar in Los Angeles County with transit pioneer, Foothill Transit, and heavy-duty electric vehicle technology innovator, Proterra.”

“It seems fitting that Foothill Transit, our first battery electric bus customer, will pioneer this next phase of the sustainable transit revolution,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. “As electric mobility continues to evolve, we’re pleased to extend our battery technology to world class, heavy-duty manufacturers like Alexander Dennis in their pursuit to go electric. The opportunities to electrify medium- and heavy-duty platforms with our technology, from transit vehicles to trucks and school buses, are abundant.”