First electric bus to travel Route 66 in California arrives in Pasadena. What a kick!

Route 66 epitomizes car culture, freedom and Sunday drives especially in the West.
What some don’t know is the famous, 2,278-mile road passing through eight states from Illinois to California ends in Santa Monica and includes historic Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, the route taken by the world famous Rose Parade every Jan. 1.
Now you can add to the list of vehicles that ever rode the highway since it opened in 1926: A full-sized electric transit bus. This one picks up and drops off passengers in Pasadena.
Foothill Transit began running its 2600 series electric buses on Colorado, Arroyo Parkway (also part of Route 66) and on Foothill Boulevard in East Pasadena about a month ago. There was no fanfare. Only the silence of a battery-powered transit bus capable of carrying 40 people.
“Congratulations. You saw an electric bus in Pasadena,” confirmed Felicia Friesema, spokeswoman for Foothill Transit, the public-private bus company out of West Covina running white buses with blue stripes.
The battery-powered buses carry the following message in large letters, “Your all-electric bus,” across the windows. On the roof’s edge they say: “Let’s clear the air.”
Electric buses are cleaner than diesel buses, of course. But these are replacing compressed natural gas buses, running from Azusa to Pasadena on its heavily used Line 187. Electric buses don’t produce any emissions — neither the smog variety nor the greenhouse gas kind, unlike natural gas burning vehicles. With California getting more electric power from clean sources, the full environmental picture is also cleaner.
Metro buses in Pasadena and most other places in Los Angeles County operate on compressed natural gas.
None is electric, at least not yet. L.A. Metro has been testing some EV buses on its Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley, a fixed busway.
buses from the Inland Empire to downtown Los Angeles, of which 10 percent are electric, Friesema said. The smaller agency is committed to 100 percent electric buses.
The agency runs 35-foot long, short-range electric buses that go 30 miles and then get a quick charge at the Pomona bus yard on its Pomona to La Verne route, Line 291. Their first electric bus began taking passengers in September 2010.
In addition, Foothill Transit purchased 14 of the long-range buses (Series 2600) that travel 150 miles on a single charge. Basically, they can go for an entire shift without stopping to recharge. The bus then plugs in and charges overnight at Foothill’s Arcadia bus yard, she said.
Foothill has primary purchased its electric buses from Proterra, a South Carolina company that opened a manufacturing facility in City of Industry in 2017. The Proterra “Catalyst” buses are being mixed into the Line 187 route as operators become trained, she said.
I spotted them on Colorado Boulevard in the Playhouse District and on Foothill Boulevard near the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station.
Most people don’t notice they are riding in an electric bus, Friesema said.
“The true success of the electric buses is that they are quiet, clean energy buses and they emit zero emissions,” Friesema said.

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