Zero-Emission Buses

 Metrobus Metro is transitioning to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet. This will improve regional air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide customers with a quieter ride. Transitioning to zero-emission technology requires more than just new buses; Metro will also invest in facility and infrastructure upgrades over the coming years to support the introduction of new buses, as well as work with frontline employees and other Metro stakeholders on workforce development opportunities.

In June 2021, Metro's Board of Directors adopted zero-emission bus goals that include the purchase of only lower-emission and electric buses in next procurement and a transition to 100% zero-emission bus purchases by 2030, leading to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet by 2045.

Metro's Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan

Metro's first Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan represents the organization's data-driven strategic roadmap towards full conversion to zero-emission technology, and meeting Metro's Board adopted zero-emission bus goals.

The plan outlines, among other things:

  • How to sequence the conversion of our garages to support zero-emission buses.
  • How zero-emission buses perform on our routes.
  • Facility upgrades, including recommended charging systems.
  • Equity considerations in the transition.
  • Workforce planning needs.

The plan is a living document and will be updated as technologies, markets, and service needs evolve. Metro will continue to work with regional partners and electric utilities to facilitate this transition.

Zero-Emission Bus Transition Timeline

Providing Environmental Benefits

In 2019 alone, passengers took over 300 million trips on Metrorail and Metrobus. Every trip taken with Metro instead of a car reduces greenhouse gas emissions, helping to ensure clean air in the region. Transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet presents a further opportunity to deliver significant environmental benefits for the region and improve the overall experience for Metrobus customers. These new buses will help drive regional air quality improvements by reducing tailpipe emissions, and help our region achieve its climate goals with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Zero-Emission Bus Deployment: Phase 1

Metro's initial deployment of battery-electric buses at Shepherd Parkway Bus Division will help provide data and experience in typical Metrobus operating conditions. This bus division is located in an Opportunity Zone, encompassing low-income and economically distressed communities, and a variety of routes across Metro's partner jurisdictions. The deployment will include 12 electric buses (10 standard length and two articulated), allowing Metro to test multiple vehicles and charging manufacturers. During this time, Metro also aims to ensure that different buses and charging technologies can work interchangeably and are scalable. Project work is ongoing, with initial bus deliveries expected in 2023 and analysis completion expected by the end of 2024.

Additional Resources
This program is built on years of preparation and coordination Metro has already conducted to address the market, infrastructure and policy prerequisites for a regional transition to zero emissions bus technology:

  • Northern Bus Garage Reconstruction Project: During a January 2023 groundbreaking event, Metro announced plans for Northern to be a 100% zero-emission bus facility on reopening. The garage is currently being designed and built to accommodate a fleet of up to 150 electric buses.
  • Zero-Emission Bus Updates:
  • 2021 Congressional Letter for ZEB Regional Support: More than 20 regional leaders joined Metro in sending a letter to our Congressional delegation emphasizing the need for continued federal funding to support the electrification of public transit bus fleets in the National Capital Region.
  • Energy Action Plan: Metro's 2025 Energy Action Plan, released in 2019, recommended new energy initiatives and modernizing operations, with the expectation to generate long-term cost savings, including a proposed evaluation of battery electric buses.