All public transit agency buses in California must be zero-emission by 2040 under a rule adopted by the California Air Resources Board, but Stockton is already ahead of the curve.
Stockton was the first city in Northern California to put two electric buses on the street five years ago, and it now has 14. The city was also the first in the nation to have an all-electric bus rapid transit route last year, by early next year there will be five.
Terry Williams with San Joaquin RTD says another 60 hybrid diesel-electric buses will be replaced entirely with electric by 2025.
“[We've ]gotten a lot of compliments and comments from passengers who are excited by the fact that it is a cleaner, much quieter ride," Williams said. "There’s less shifting. Passengers enjoy a smoother ride as well.”
Williams said there are challenges ahead for many transit agencies in the state. The majority of the 13,000 transit agency buses use methane or diesel fuel.
But he says Stockton was the perfect fit for electric because of the poor air quality in the San Joaquin Valley.
“We have such a challenging situation in terms of air pollution that unfortunately impacts a lot of lower-income areas, so there’s an element of environmental justice and RTD has really led the way in that,” he said.