Skip to content

People await to board the AC Transit route 36 bus to the West Oakland BART station. The bus has the words "ZERO EMISSION" in green below the words fuel cell electric drive .

AC Transit accelerates toward zero emission goal

on December 12, 2023

Despite setbacks caused by COVID-19, AC Transit expects to meet its 2023 goals to convert 10% of its bus fleet to zero emission vehicles. 

The California Air Resources Board enacted a regulation in 2018 that requires all public transit agencies to transition from diesel fuel to 100% zero‑emission electric bus fleets by the end of 2040. AC Transit set an internal goal of converting 10% of its 630 buses to zero emission technology by the end of this year, said spokesperson Robert Lyles. 

“Barring any additional and unforeseen obstacles, AC Transit is confident in our ability to meet our target of 10 percent transition by the close of the year,” Lyles said in an email.

Transit agencies play a crucial role in reducing emissions.

“It’s one of the most cost-effective ways that we can reduce emissions from the transportation sector, by encouraging people to ride transit, so right off the bat transit agencies just by definition of what they do are really critical elements to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Ethan Elkind, director of the Climate Program at the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at UC Berkeley, wrote in an email. 

The services also are important, as the only transportation option for those who don’t drive or can’t afford a car, he added. 

Aditya Bhumbla, a transit advocate in San Francisco, said getting people to use public transit is the best way to reduce transport emissions. In terms of sustainability, Bhumbla said trolley buses, as seen in San Francisco, are the gold standard, though they are expensive because of the required wiring. 

“I’m glad that [AC Transit] is moving off diesel,” Bhumbla said.

This summer, the Federal Transit Administration awarded AC Transit a $25.5 million Bus and Low-and No-Emission Grant. It will help cover the $18 million design and construction of the  Zero Emission Bus University, which will provide a controlled environment for AC Transit employees to learn how to handle operational situations, emergency scenarios and vehicle maintenance. 

Elkind explained the significance of AC Transit’s program in the global transportation market. 

“It’s not just about creating a local air quality benefit and reducing our carbon footprint,” he said.  “It’s also about agencies like AC Transit using their purchasing power to expand a market that ultimately benefits the whole world by bringing down the cost of these large electrics.” 

(Top photo of an AC Transit bus, by Veronique Eshaya)

BART gets more bike friendly with rule change


  1. michellefoxs on February 23, 2024 at 5:52 am


  2. michellefoxs on February 23, 2024 at 5:53 am

    I’m thrilled to see AC Transit’s determined strides toward zero emissions, even in the face of pandemic-related setbacks. Their commitment to converting 10% of their bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles by the end of 2023 is a bold and commendable move. By adhering to California Air Resources Board regulations and investing in initiatives like the Zero Emission Bus University the student of which I am, AC Transit is reducing local emissions. I found an expert after checking this page who helped to identify a crucial role in shaping the global transportation market towards a greener future. This proactive approach highlights their dedication to environmental stewardship and sets a shining example for other transit agencies to follow.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top