“Electric buses are a game-changer.” An Interview with LA Councilmember Mike Bonin

When it comes to helping people get out of their car and onto trains, buses, bikes and sidewalks, you’d be hard pressed to find an elected official more committed and thoughtful than Los Angeles Councilmember Bonin. On buses, Councilmember Bonin recently introduced a motion with Councilmember Huizar to move the City’s bus fleet to all-electric by 2030. Now, along with Boardmembers Garcetti, Hahn, Najarian and Solis, he’s introduced a motion to do the same for LA Metro and shift to 100 percent electric buses by 2030. LA Metro operates the second largest bus fleet in the nation.

Earlier this week, we reached out to Councilman Bonin to discuss his love of electric buses and how they can impact Los Angeles.

Question: You’ve been a proponent of electric buses for a long time now. How do they fit into your vision for transportation in Los Angeles?

Councilmember Bonin: I want future generations to live in a Los Angeles where people have safe and convenient connections to transportation options that don’t cause traffic gridlock and doesn’t poison our air. Electric buses are a game-changer because they help move more people to where they need to go, without adding harmful fossil fuel pollution to our air.

Question: Can you talk about the role of Metro in driving technological innovation?

Councilmember Bonin: Metro is the third largest transportation agency in the United States, operating in the second largest bus fleet in the nation. When Metro takes bold action to incorporate electric buses into our fleet, we are creating a market for new EV technology and showing entrepreneurs and innovators that advancing and improving on the current EV technology is a smart investment. Especially given the intertwined history of Los Angeles and automobiles, Metro has a unique opportunity to prove that “if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.”

Question: OK, the year is 2030 and Hollywood is doing a reboot of the movie Speed. How do electric buses change the plot?

Councilmember Bonin:

1) A faster-accelerating EV bus would have no problem clearing the gap on the 110 freeway, so that scene would be a little less exciting.

2) The subplots about needing to refuel the bus would be less interesting, as plugging the bus in is far less dangerous than pouring gasoline into a moving bus.

3) The stakes will be higher, since the bus will be more full of everyday Angelenos riding Metro to get where they need to go.

4) Keanu still won’t have aged a day, so they won’t need to re-cast him (I know that wasn’t the question, but it is worth noting…)