TriMet plans for an entirely electric future

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 12:33 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – The state’s largest provider of mass-transit is working to combat climate change. Officials with TriMet met with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici to discuss its transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.

Currently, TriMet is testing a number of electric buses. They plan on making the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040.

TriMet’s Columbia Operating Facility in Northeast Portland is home to a bus that is the first for the transit industry. A 60-foot articulated bus that has been fully converted from Diesel to battery. Nicknamed the “Franken-Bus,” TriMet officials say the bus is a window to its future.

“We are currently at ground zero of testing the bus right now, and hopefully soon putting it into service,” says TriMet General Manager Sam Desuv.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici visited the facility Monday morning to take a tour and see its electric bus fleet.

TriMet says currently only 11 of its buses are electric but it has big plans to change that.

“It’s absolutely critical as we try to save our planet from all of the carbon dioxide, and reduce our carbon footprint,” Desuv says.

The change will take some time – specifically, about 18 years. TriMet says it took them two years just to convert one bus from diesel to electric. But environmentally, and financially, officials say it is more effective.

To purchase an electric bus, TriMet says it costs about $1 million.  Whereas transitioning a bus from diesel to electric costs half that at around $500 thousand.