AVTA preparing for electric buses, pursuing ‘bus rapid transit’

Transit Authority busLANCASTER – Electric buses and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will one day be part of the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) service, if planning efforts continue to gain momentum.  During a Strategic Planning Workshop on July 17, the Board of Directors discussed plans to purchase two electric buses and to prepare a feasibility study for a Bus Rapid Transit route. Formal direction to pursue these projects was given to staff at the regular AVTA Board meeting of July 23.

“We are excited about both projects,” stated Executive Director Julie Austin, “Residents may see electric buses traveling along valley streets by late next year if we secure funding. The BRT, on the other hand, is a long range project that could take more than five years to implement.”

Currently, the Authority is seeking grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to purchase two electric buses at a cost of approximately $1.8 million.  The fuel savings is expected to offset the higher price tag associated with this new technology.

AVTA has been preparing to introduce electric buses into its fleet for the past year. Recently, they upgraded their solar power generation system by adding another transformer to harness additional electricity.  Several dozen additional solar parking panels were also installed.

The AVTA Board is now engaging in preliminary discussions regarding the development of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route.  BRT is a flexible, rubber-tired rapid transit mode that combines stations, vehicles, services, running ways, alternative fare collection methods, and ITS elements into an integrated system with a strong positive image and identity. It typically travels along a dedicated guideway and is given priority passage using traffic signal priority or signal synchronization.  A BRT is considered a lower cost alternative to rail transit that offers many similar advantages such as reduced travel times, high capacity, and economic development to the communities it serves.  Discussion is now underway to study the possibility of a BRT along 10th Street West between the A.V. Mall and Lancaster Boulevard. This was one of the recommendations included in AVTA’s most recent Long Range Transit Plan, completed in 2011.

“Development of a BRT would bring a great deal of transit dollars into the region to create new jobs and enhance the vitality of our economy,” started Board Chairman Norm Hickling. “We intend to thoroughly study the service concept and seek input from the community to ascertain if there is support for this type of venture. “

AVTA plans to complete a feasibility study early next year to determine if such a project is a viable option.  In the meantime, the agency is in the process of installing an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that will provide customers with real time bus location information. This $2.3 million system is expected to be operational within 14 months.

(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.)

  7 comments for “AVTA preparing for electric buses, pursuing ‘bus rapid transit’

  1. Emma mannings
    August 7, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I hardly doubt that what I saw happen to a passenger on 08/06/13 wen she boarded a lancaster bus the bus driver a white woman slammed the doors on a woman and caused her to have a dislocated shoulder….smh I dont understand why these bus drivers are so rude

  2. Michael Rives
    August 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I have spoken to the Lancaster City Council and addressed, particularly, Marvin Crist and Sandra Johnson who are the city’s reps on the AVTA Board of Directors about the need for shuttle buses instead of the giant, empty buses we see all over the AV. Shuttle buses are convenient and can run more frequently all over the AV like the DASH buses in Los Angeles. We have a fixtation with the big buses even though they are NOT helpful for ridership in the AV. We live in an area with extreme temps. Who wants to wait in the extreme cold or extreme cold or very windy conditions? Also, I have pressed the Lancaster reps to promote putting shelters over the bus stops to protect people from the elements.

  3. Nikolas Malechikos
    August 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    a BRT is a good idea for sure.

    Implementing such a concept makes the most sense when connecting relatively-high density, or relatively-well visited locations with each other.

    I can see there being financial benefits to both Palmdale and Lancaster by connecting the area of 10th West and Ave. P with 10th West and Lancaster BLVD..

    And ideally, the planners would have the BRT in place well before the CA high speed rail is operational, with a line connecting the CA HSR station at Sierra Highway and Technology Drive over to the Mall.. then over to The BLVD.

    • Green is a cover-up
      August 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      This is all about closing the Lancaster Metrolink station. The board of AVTA is working with Lancaster City Council to close the station and use these rapid buses to shuttle people to Palmdale to catch the train to LA. They think that being the last stop means all the lowlifes get off in downtown Lancaster. Relocate the station Norm Hickling north so we can still board the train in Lancaster, we live North of Lancaster and will not use the bus to Palmdale.We are on to you Mr. Hicking and will use environmental justice to prevail.

  4. William
    August 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Who’s bright idea was it to have bus stops on 10th West by the Mall that block the right hand traffic lanes? Further south on 10th, there is a turnout for buses. The same thing happens on the Mall perimeter road where they have plenty of room for turnouts.

    The way it is now, those buses block the lanes for a minute or two which causes traffic to back up onto Rancho Vista Boulevard as cars try to move over to the left lanes.

    Dumb. Stupid. and so on. So much for buses improving traffic flow by removing cars off the road if they are just going to be obstacles in the process.

  5. BGF
    August 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    $900,000 EACH?? so for the fuel savings to work out as actually saving money, these buses are going to have to run 24/7 for about 25 years… Yeah, good luck with that.

  6. Bus Rider
    August 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    The run between AV Mall and Lancaster City Park is not too bad right now. It would be nice if there were more dependable buses out in Littlerock, and a faster line from East Palmdale towards Antelope Valley College.
    I know education is low on the Mayor’s radar compared to shopping the Blvd. but it would be a longer run and a better use of the resource.

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