The Sunline Transit Agency began exploring diesel alternatives about 20 years ago and today the public transportation agency is leading the march for the rest of the transit agencies in the state that much commit to 100% clean fuel by 2040.
The lawmakers from Calfornia are pushing for cleaner air and one way is by committing its public transit to switch to zero emissions fuel.
The CEO for the Sunline Transit Agency, Lauren Skiver, said they are ahead of the game.
Skiver said, “The position California is taking as a leader in the country and that clean air is important, it’s really important out here in the valley, where we have air quality issues in the East Valley.”
The California Air Resource Board set new standards to reduce greenhouse gasses and other lung-damaging pollutants.
Skiver said Sunline was among the first agencies to switch to cleaner energy way before it was mandated by the state government.
She said, “It was the first agency to park its entire diesel fleet and change to CNG in one weekend, it was done 20 years ago, and no other agency has even done that.”
Skiver said about 20% of the Sunline bus fleet run on Hydrogen Fuel Cell.
She said, “A diesel-powered bus you wouldn’t want to sit behind or be behind in your car or be on the side of the road behind, you will smell it as it goes by, this bus produces water that you can drink.”
There may be some challenges ahead with the ruling from the board since clean fuel buses are more expensive and currently more than 10,000 buses will need to be replaced in the state. Also, meeting the 100% zero emission standards may be difficult to meet for smaller agencies.
But the switches to clean fuel from public buses does not account for the millions of drivers on California freeways each day.
However for Skiver, it is a matter of having a starting point, she said,
She said, “We human beings don’t react to what we can’t see and I think that we are starting to see the environment change more so more people are actively looking how they individually can contribute.”
The Sunline Transit Agency plans to reach the 100% zero emission threshold within 10 years, the agency is also quickly becoming the supplier of Hydrogen Fuel Cell for other transportation agencies.