Fleet, Infrastructure, and Workforce
Trolley fleet The trolley fleet comprises approximately 12 percent of Metro’s current (2021) bus fleet (174 trolleys). Trolleys will continue to be key to Metro’s zero-emissions strategy. The trolleys include battery energy storage to enable operation over short distances without overhead wire. Metro will continue to explore innovations in the batteries that support trolleys and other strategies to optimize and expand use of the trolley fleet. Continued innovation and technical advancements will help Metro increase use of trolleys on the weekends as well. Construction projects often require that portions of the trolley overhead system be turned off to safely allow work to occur. Construction that impacts Metro’s trolley system is currently limited to weekends. Technical advancements such as increased off-wire capabilities and continued work with partners in scheduling construction projects will help Metro keep trolleys running.
Battery-electric buses Metro has committed to purchasing only zero-emission buses after 2023. Trolley buses will continue to be an important component of the zero emission fleet and the bulk of these will be battery-electric buses (BEBs) that will replace existing dieselhybrid buses. Metro currently operates 11 fast-charge BEBs. It is planning an initial purchase of 40 long-range BEBs in 2021. Metro will continue to expand its BEB fleet as buses need replacement.
Zero-emission non-bus fleets Metro is also exploring options to transition its non-bus fleets—such as Rideshare, Access and the non-revenue vehicle fleet—to zero emission. Metro’s efforts include continuing to transition light duty-sedans to electric, piloting new vehicle technologies to meet operational needs, and developing cost analysis tools to inform purchase decisions. Metro is also upgrading and expanding electric charging infrastructure. In addition, Metro is working to electrify its ferry fleet. Ferry propulsion technology continues to evolve with cleaner diesel engines, hybrid propulsion systems using batteries for low-speed docking operations, and full battery-electric systems able to achieve operating speeds that meet commuter needs. Battery-electric vessels will reduce fuel consumption and costs, maintenance, and air emissions. Electric power reduces noise and vibration and enhances vessel responsiveness and safety. Metro will use the best available propulsion technologies as existing fleet vessels reach the end of their useful life and as new ferry routes are started. Shoreside charging infrastructure will be deployed to support the overnight and underway needs of battery-electric vessels.
Infrastructure Metro has begun building large-scale electrical charging infrastructure and will continue developing information technology solutions to manage vehicle charging. Metro is planning to use on-base and on-route charging. It is building new bus bases and retrofitting existing bases with bus charging infrastructure. Charging stations at King County Metro Long Range Plan