Transportation

Metro Will Soon Start Testing New Electric Bus In Greater Houston

Transit officials want to know how the zero-emission bus will perform out in traffic.

The electric bus will get a test run on the #63 Fondren route starting in December.
The electric bus will get a test run on the #63 Fondren route starting in December.

Metro’s fleet has over 1,200 buses. Some run on clean diesel, others are hybrids, and there’s a few that run on compressed natural gas.

What Metro doesn’t have is an all-electric bus, but that could soon change. Starting in December, Metro will try out a bus that operates solely on battery power. It’s manufactured by Proterra, a California-based company, that produces zero-emission vehicles.

Metro CEO Tom Lambert says they want to test the bus in a real-time situation.

“We know what the life of the battery is. It’s a quick charge at one of our park and ride facilities in Missouri City,” Lambert says. “We want to test that to see if there is an opportunity to look at that technology conversion in the future.”

So where can you ride the electric bus? Lambert says they’ll test it on #63 Fondren route in southwest Houston so it’ll have easy access to the charging station at the transit center.

“We want to get feedback from our customers, so we’ll be surveying our customers to get their sense,” Lambert adds. “But it’s also an opportunity to survey our operators, and it’s also an opportunity to survey our maintenance staff.”

Lambert says they’ll test the bus for about three months before starting discussions on whether to add electric vehicles to Metro’s fleet.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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