The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus Will Purchase Five Battery Electric Buses and Develop Infrastructure to Charge Up to 104 Buses, Following the Announcement of a $22.9 Million State Grant From the California State Transportation Agency.
The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus will purchase five battery electric buses and develop infrastructure to charge up to 104 buses, following the announcement of a $22.9 million State grant from the California State Transportation Agency.
The grant will be used to increase the number of zero-emission buses in the BBB fleet to 39 and provide electric utility and charging equipment upgrades, including constructing a large canopy with overhead reel charging dispensers at BBB’s depot.
The funds will make investments in climate and workforce resilience, capital improvement projects that increase ridership and improve customer experience and provide over 1,100 hours of advanced, high-voltage safety training for BBB’s staff.
The grant comes two months after the City Council approved an $18 million contract to add as many as 15 battery electric buses to the fleet, helping the transition to zero emissions buses by 2030.
The five new battery electric buses will replace 15 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses purchased in 2010 and 2011, which are due for replacement. This will bring the total number of battery electric buses to 34 since the first one was added in 2019.
The new buses will be deployed on Route 3 and Rapid 3 as part of a comprehensive plan to reimagine service on Lincoln Boulevard between Downtown Santa Monica and LAX. Route 3 and Rapid 3 will be rerouted to connect to both the Metro Rail K Line and the LAX People Mover, upon completion of the new LAX/Metro Transit Center in 2024. One mile of bus lanes will be implemented on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice during peak hours.
BBB will add 11,500 service hours annually on Route 3 and Rapid 3 to increase frequency to every 10 minutes for most of the day. Furthermore, the grant will allow BBB to create green jobs and provide high-voltage safety training for its staff.
BBB is among 28 transit agencies awarded grant funding through CalSTA’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) as part of a multiyear investment to upgrade the state’s transit system to support transportation equity, improve service and mobility options, and reduce overdependence on driving.