King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov

King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

King County may be able to move more quickly on its goal of electrifying Metro’s vehicle fleet should the King County Council approve a proposed ordinance.

The ordinance would require King County Executive Dow Constantine to “jump start” vehicle electrification, require Metro to speed up its transition to an entirely zero-emissions bus fleet by 2035 instead of 2040, and move up deadlines for other services like Paratransit and Rideshare.

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and it is one of the top sources for emissions in King County. Metro’s fleet is more efficient than personal vehicles, but the agency still uses about 10 million gallons of diesel annually and produces about 80 percent of the county’s emissions, according to the county.

The proposal carries a $60 million price tag — money the county would use to buy 120 battery buses, build out the needed charging infrastructure and continue planning. The county’s goal is to have around 51 percent of Metro’s fleet running on batteries, or running off the electric grid, by 2030.

Another 250 buses will be purchased by 2025. A new Metro base in South King County would house 250 of these zero-emissions buses and is expected to open in 2030.

Additionally, charging stations for the public could be expanded at county parks and Park and Ride locations. The executive could further require that new multi-family housing and commercial developments include charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Since 2016, Metro has piloted three fast-charge battery buses in Bellevue. Metro owns eight short-range battery buses with a range of 25 miles, which it uses in the city. About 12 percent — or 185 buses — of its bus fleet is expected to be electrified by this fall, most of them from its trolley bus fleet. It is also leasing and testing 10 buses with ranges of up to 140 miles.

The county hopes to put about 2,200 battery or electric buses and trolleys on the streets over the course of the next 20 years.

A full transition to electric buses in Washington state could avoid nearly 90,000 tons of pollution annually, according to a report by the Environment Washington Research and Policy Center. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 170,000 cars off the road. And owing to declines in electric vehicle battery costs, governments that use electric buses have saved around $30,000 per bus each year compared to diesel-powered buses, according to the report.

Metro operates a fleet of more than 1,600 buses.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Bellevue City Hall. Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
Open seat on East Bellevue Community Council

Applications are due by Friday, July 24

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Free masks at the Bellevue Salvation Army. Courtesy photo
Free mask pickup for Bellevue residents

New dates and times for mask distribution this week

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Construction begins for Downtown Park entrance

The previously delayed entryway project is expected to be finished early 2021

Most Read