Transit in Transition

LBT will hold a public hearing next week regarding the purchase of new electric buses buses that the city intends to use for the next five years.

LBT will unveil new fleet class “battery electric buses” and will be looking to expand on its current compressed natural gas buses, according to a press release.

“It seems like they are always trying to provide some sort of affordable transportation,” Alfredo Gutierrez, a senior history major said. “It’s going to benefit a lot of people, and everyone is trying to go green.”

Established in 1976, the axle weight limit statute states that any one axle on a bus cannot surpass 20,500 pounds. Assembly Bill No. 1706, which passed in 2012, grants exceptions for some weight regulation restrictions, but a public hearing must precede any changes.

Over time, the weight of buses has increased due to a variety of factors, such as service characteristics, like air conditioning, seating and improvements in stability, according to the press release. New and mandatory ADA equipment and air regulations have also increased the weight of buses.

Jesse Sanchez, a junior philosophy major, said he commutes to school using the LBT 171.

“I think it’s a good idea [because] it will cut down on the pollution,” Sanchez said. “And it’s also [going to be] energy efficient.”

According to the press release, the buses that LBT will replace and retire include vehicles that have exceeded their “useful life” of 12 years.

Gutierrez said that passenger service is more important than changing the inside of the buses.

“The biggest issue I have is that they don’t pass as often, for example the 171 and 121.” Gutierrez said. “A lot of ‘90s [buses] pass by.”

While he did express some concern about the LBT service, he said he still thinks the new changes can be positive.

LBT expects the new buses to accommodate current and future commuters’ needs as all new vehicles must meet current and future air quality regulations.

“It’s for the air pollution, making the environment [cleaner,]” sophomore marketing major Yazmin Valenzuela said.

LBT officials accepted public comments through Feb. 13 via the LBT website and customer service call center. The LBT website states that public comments will still be accepted during the public hearing, which will take place in the Long Beach City Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd. on Feb. 23 at noon.

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