The local grant is part of $ 39 million that was allocated this week to transportation projects in Los Angeles County by the California Transportation Commission. The subsidies are funded by an increase in gasoline and diesel taxes, as well as vehicle charges, adopted in 2017.
The Long Beach Transit grant will help the agency meet its goal of having an entire fleet of zero-emission buses by 2035, spokesman Michael Gold said.
“We know the communities we serve are affected by pollution from trucks and the port, so we want to be part of a sustainable solution,” he said.
Once the funds are distributed, the agency will need to choose a supplier from a list approved by the state to produce and deliver the vehicles.
Due to the length of the journey – a journey lasts between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on traffic – the agency is looking to purchase coach-type intercity buses. So far, the route has been served by regular city buses, but customers have requested more comfortable accommodation, according to Gold.
“They like the service, they like not having to drive themselves,” he said. “But for a longer trip, customers have asked for something a little more comfortable.”
As long as funds are distributed as planned, Gold said the buses are expected to arrive in Long Beach in about 18 months. The agency has not yet targeted a selection of suppliers.
Long Beach Transit launched commuter express service to UCLA in April 2019. In its first year, the service carried an average of 2,597 passengers per month on six daily trips – three morning trips to and three afternoons to. departure from Westwood.
During the pandemic, that number fell to 288, with one trip per day in each direction, reflecting the agency’s overall drop in passenger numbers, according to Gold.
Editors Note: This story has been updated to clarify that the average number of shuttle service riders has been reported on a monthly basis.