The Point: RTA received $5.1 million in federal grant funding to buy hydrogen buses

Before we know it, 2040 will be here. Why is 2040 significant? Bus operators across California will be required to operate 100% zero-emission bus fleets in 18 years. Starting in 2029, all agency bus purchases must be electric, fuel cell, or hydrogen powered.

Riverside County is working to meet this mandate. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the Riverside Transit Agency $5.1 million to buy five 40-foot hydrogen fuel electric buses. This will be RTA’s first set of buses that will entirely run without tailpipe emissions. Although this represents a small percentage of the entire RTA fleet, the new hydrogen buses provide the foundation toward transitioning to emission-free service.

0822 Point RTA Grant CROPPED

Along with the $5.1 million award, RTA also secured a $8.7 million grant to build hydrogen fueling stations in Riverside and Hemet earlier this year and another $1.6 million to install solar panels at facilities.

Riverside County’s other bus operators also are making great progress toward the 2040 goal. SunLine Transit has been a pioneer in alternative fuels and zero-emission program implementation. SunLine currently has a fleet of 16 hydrogen fuel buses and four battery electric buses. The agency anticipates having a 100% zero-emission fleet in place by 2035, well before the deadline.

RCTC is also providing support for these efforts. Although RCTC does not operate bus service, we are helping smaller operators comply with the 2040 mandate. RCTC secured a grant last year to prepare a Joint Zero-Emission Bus Rollout and Implementation Plan for the five public transit operators that operate fixed route and dial-a-ride services in Banning, Beaumont, Corona, Riverside, and the Palo Verde Valley. The grant will fund a plan to help these smaller Riverside County transit operators decide which zero-emission technology is suitable for their communities, prepare a bus replacement schedule, identify charging and maintenance facility upgrades, and develop a capital and operating funding plan.

Learn more about bus services that operate in Riverside County.