All California city buses to be all-electric by 2029

California has become the first state to require electric buses on all public transit routes. The rule accelerates the state’s transition to cleaner vehicles.

California’s clean air agency, the California Air Resources Board, ruled last week that all city transit agencies must shift to 100 per cent electric buses over the coming decade. Starting in 2023, a quarter of new city buses must be electric and will rise to half of all new buses by 2026, reports the New York Times. Currently, only 150 electric buses run on the state’s streets, a fraction of the entire fleet of 12,000 buses.

“A zero-emission public bus fleet means cleaner air for all of us,” Mary D. Nichols, the chairwoman of the agency, said in a statement. “It dramatically reduces tailpipe pollution from buses in low-income communities and provides multiple benefits especially for transit-dependent riders.”

The new rule was welcomed by environmentalists.

“It sends a clear market signal that the fifth largest economy in the world is serious about zero-emissions transit buses,” Adrian Martinez, a staff attorney at the non-profit Earthjustice, told Fast Company. “Even though you’ve had a lot of transit agencies step up to the plate to commit to 100 per cent, getting the stamp of approval from a state as big and as powerful as California is important to send a signal nationally.”

While the new rule is innovative for a country like the United States, it still comes a year after the city of Shenzhen in China announced that it all of its 16,000 buses are now electric.

Image credit: Proterra

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