Metro Transit Gets Greener

Metro Transit has been working hard to become greener, with quite a bit of success. The results were recently presented in a staff report to the Met Council, excerpted below.

Increasing bus MPG from 4.1 to 4.7 may not seem like much, but it’s a 15% improvement.

Buses aren’t the only area of improvement. Metro Transit owns 5 bus garages, an office building, two light rail facilities, a bus overhaul base and several ancillary buildings. Here’s how building energy use has decreased. They’re also investing in solar.

Overall energy use has decreased as ridership has risen. This table shows millions of BTUs per ride.


Aaron Isaacs

About Aaron Isaacs

Aaron retired in 2006 after 33 years as a planner and manager for Metro Transit, where he worked in route and schedule planning, operations, maintenance, transit facilities, light rail and traffic advantages for buses. He's an historian of transit, as a 40+ year volunteer with the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. He's co-author of Twin Cities by Trolley, The Streetcar Era in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and author of Twin Ports by Trolley on Duluth-Superior.

3 thoughts on “Metro Transit Gets Greener

  1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker

    Wow. The decrease in tailpipe emissions is absolutely incredible!

    Aaron, what are the prospects in the future, not just to 2017. Are the first fully electric buses a possibility in five years? Ten? More?

  2. Aaron IsaacsAaron isaacs

    Metro Transit is interested in fully electric buses, but they don’t appear to be a mature, viable technology yet. Remember that buses often have to stay on the street for 12-18 hours at a time, and that’s certainly beyond the range of all-electric buses at this time. They could be assigned to shorter rush hour trippers, but then the fleet would accumulate mileage unevenly, causing the other buses to wear our prematurely. That drives up costs. Metro Transit has been increasing its fleet of hybrid buses, but they cost about twice as much as a diesel bus, so that limits the number they can buy. I can’t predict when battery technology will be up to the task, so it’s probably better to assume a fleet that’s similar to today’s, with further incremental improvements in fuel economy.

    1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker

      What’s happening to the price of hybrid buses? Double the cost seems remarkably high, especially given how it seems most big city systems (or at least the cities I’ve been to recently) are adding hybrids into their fleets. I’m sure costs have declined since their first roll out, but are costs still declining as more transit systems buy in? Or is there a fixed reason why hybrids simply will always remain that much more expensive?

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