SAN DIEGO—The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) announced Oct. 8 the purchase order of a dozen 60-foot battery-electric buses to provide service on the new 100 percent electric Iris Rapid.
This new route is intended to provide fast, limited-stop service in the South Bay area, from Otay Mesa to Imperial Beach via state Route 905, and Coronado Avenue. It is scheduled to open in early 2023.
“The purchase of these buses for the first all-electric Rapid route in our region is a huge leap forward towards a greener future, environmental justice, sustainability, and better air quality,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS board chair and chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
“MTS will also put five new 40-foot electric buses into service over the next few weeks, adding to its existing fleet of eight electric buses. When the Iris Rapid comes on line, MTS will have 25 electric buses in operation.”
The transition to an all-electric fleet is part of the MTS Zero-Emissions Bus program, which seeks to reach a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2040. The Iris Rapid will connect riders with the University of California–San Diego Blue Line Trolley at the Iris Avenue Transit Center.
For this latest electric-bus order, MTS selected New Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc.
“In the past 30 years, NFI has delivered over 600 buses to MTS,” said Paul Soubry, president and CEO of NFI. “It was one of the first transit agencies in the U.S. to move to a compressed natural gas bus fleet and is a pioneer in sustainable mobility.
“We are pleased to continue supporting MTS as it drives towards California’s Innovative Clean Transit goal of a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2040,” he said.
The electric buses are equipped with advanced modular battery packaging, long-range batteries, and a lightweight traction drive system.