How SBCTA is Going Green this Earth Day 

April 10, 2024

Earth Day is observed annually to raise awareness about environmental issues and to advocate for the protection of our planet. In addition to encouraging the public to ride the bus or train, carpool, vanpool, and bike or walk to work, SBCTA is working on two projects to promote sustainability for the county’s 2.2 million residents. 

Construction on the West Valley Connector (WVC) project began earlier this year. WVC will be a 100% zero-emission Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system running 40-foot battery electric buses, the first stage of the San Bernardino County zero-emission Bus Initiative and second BRT route in San Bernardino County. Phase I of the project is 19 miles and will upgrade a portion of existing Route 61 which runs along Holt Boulevard, adding approximately 3.5 miles as center running, dedicated bus-only lanes. There will be 21 stations in Phase I that will provide a much-improved transit connection to Ontario International Airport (ONT) and help build transit connectivity by linking ONT, two Metrolink lines (San Bernardino and Riverside) and multiple major activity centers along the route including Ontario Mills and Victoria Gardens. Headways will be 10 minutes in the peak commute period and 15 minutes off-peak, providing a high level of service to the community. Expected to open for passenger use in 2026, WVC will offer faster, greener bus service throughout the region, moving San Bernardino County into the future of sustainable transit. 

SBCTA also continues to forge a greener passenger rail future with the introduction of the Zero-Emission Multiple Unit (ZEMU) rail vehicle. Set to debut later this year, ZEMU is North America’s first compliant zero-emission, hydrogen-battery hybrid passenger train, a testament to SBCTA’s unwavering commitment to sustainable transportation solutions and furthering California’s standing as a world leader in clean transportation. Manufactured by Stadler US, ZEMU utilizes innovative hybrid hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology to propel the vehicle, offering passengers an environmentally friendly transit option. SBCTA’s investment extends beyond the rail vehicle itself, with plans underway to upgrade the Arrow Maintenance Facility in San Bernardino to accommodate hydrogen storage, refueling, and safety enhancements. ZEMU will replace the diesel multiple units currently running on the Arrow line between downtown Redlands and downtown San Bernardino, offering passengers a state-of-the-art rail experience and providing an innovative clean transportation option that benefits both people and the planet. 

Projects like WVC and ZEMU are just the beginning of SBCTA’s vision and commitment to a modern, sustainable transit system. And SBCTA continues to plan for a brighter, greener transportation future by pioneering sustainable transit initiatives and embracing emerging technology for generations to come. No need to wait for ZEMU and WVC to do your part this Earth Day, riding public transit in the San Bernardino County region is easier than you think. So where will you go to celebrate Earth Day?  

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