Phoenix City Council voted 8-0 to transition 100% of the city’s bus fleet to zero-emission models by 2040. Phase 1 of this transition plan includes a moratorium on purchasing compressed natural gas (CNG) buses after 2024, thereafter purchasing only low- and zero-emission buses, including hybrid-electric, battery-electric, and fuel-cell-electric buses.
This comes almost a year after City Council unanimously approved a $150 million request for proposals (RFP) for low- and zero-emission buses and put significant limits on a contract for (CNG) buses.
“Today’s votes show just how far we’ve come as a city in the past year when it comes to clean transportation. A year ago, council was presented with a contract that did not even consider low- or zero-emission options. Today, we passed one of the strongest zero emission transition plans in the country,” said Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari, who led efforts with Phoenix Public Transit to pass this significant policy.
This transition plan coincides with the City’s 2021 Climate Action Plan and 2022 Transportation Electrification Action Plan, both of which have goals around a more sustainable transportation system and improving air quality. Consumer advocates have also highlighted the long-term cost savings of an all-electric fleet.
Over the last several years, the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) has released a series of reports noting the financial, air quality, and public health benefits of shifting to electric buses. Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of Arizona PIRG, stated, “Phoenix taxpayers will benefit by the City’s adoption and implementation of a plan to transition to cleaner buses as well as through procuring buses in coordination with other governmental entities and utilizing federal funds. And Phoenix residents and tourists will benefit by improved air quality and public health.”
Also approved on Wednesday was a cooperative contract with the State of Washington to purchase low- and zero-emission buses and a raise for the city’s bus drivers, mechanics, and operators.
“When looking forward to a zero-emission transportation system, it’s important that residents are excited to utilize it. Reliability, frequency, and safety also need to be priorities.” Ansari added. “We need more drivers in order to provide that guarantee. That is why Councilwoman Guardado and I requested quick action to raise wages and Vice Mayor Pastor led efforts at Valley Metro – so that we can recruit and retain a talented workforce by paying them a fair wage.”
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