TriMet FX buses running on cleaner-burning fuel
TriMet will open its first FX — Frequent Express — bus line between Portland and Gresham on Sunday, Sept. 18. Its new 60-foot articulated FX buses are bright green in color — and as green environmentally as you can get for a diesel bus.
That's because all TriMet buses now run on much cleaner-burning fuel — R99 renewable diesel. R99 is a blend of 99% renewable and sustainable resources like natural fats, vegetable oils and greases, and just 1% petroleum.
When TriMet first put in the purchase for articulated buses in 2019, in anticipation of the new FX — Frequent Express — service, the few options available for battery-electric versions did not meet the agency's standards. With technology continuing to advance, TriMet will purchase only zero-emission buses in the future, aiming for a fleetwide transition by 2040. In the meantime, using R99 in the FX diesel buses reduces their emissions along the Division Street corridor.
TriMet's move to renewable diesel began in 2021 and immediately cut its carbon footprint. When factoring in the upstream emissions of making and delivering R99 to TriMet's facilities, the move lowered the greenhouse gas emissions from TriMet's fixed-route bus fleet by about 61% compared to the biodiesel blend it had been using.
TriMet celebrated the shift to the cleaner burning fuel on Dec. 2, 2021, with General Manager Sam Desue Jr. and Oregon Sen. Michael Dembrow — a staunch proponent of reducing carbon emissions in the transportation industry — fueling an FX bus with the R99 at TriMet's Powell Operations Facility in Southeast Portland.
"Whether riding on a TriMet bus, driving behind it, or walking or biking nearby, you'll notice a big difference with our buses now running on cleaner-burning renewable diesel. As Oregon's largest consumer of diesel before today, we're not only lowering TriMet's greenhouse gas emissions, we're leading the state's transportation industry toward a cleaner air future right now," Desue said at the event.
"For Oregon to step up, be a model, and convince the rest of the nation to join the fight against climate change, we need to get serious about reducing our transportation emissions, the largest source of emissions in this state. To do that, we need more people to be using transit, and we need to make sure that the energy used to run those buses and trains is coming from renewable sources. By switching to renewable electricity and renewable, green diesel, TriMet is making a huge difference in moving us forward. I'm so proud of this decision," Dembrow said.
Others who attended the event included: Metro Council President Lynn Peterson; Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega-Pederson; Portland General Electric President and CEO Maria Pope; and Climate Solutions Oregon Director Meredith Connolly.
In May 2022, TriMet also shifted its LIFT paratransit vehicles and WES Commuter Rail trains to renewable diesel. The agency's use of R99, along with its switch to renewable electricity for the MAX light-rail system and all TriMet-owned facilities in June 2021, reduced TriMet's greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 70% within a year's time. With these climate actions, TriMet estimates it will avoid more than 193 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year. That is equivalent to taking almost 19,000 automobiles off the road, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
TriMet's current climate actions reduce the agency's carbon footprint today as it transitions to a zero-emissions bus fleet. The agency currently has 14 all-electric buses it has been testing, and it plans its first bulk purchase of 24 long-range electric buses to arrive in fiscal year 2024, which begins July 1, 2023. The long-term goal is to cut TriMet's emissions down to net zero by 2050, but its actions are making an immediate impact on its riders, the community and the environment.
Learn more at trimet.org/sustainability.
Grand opening celebration set Sept. 17
TriMet FX will be a new type of improved bus service that will be faster and more reliable than standard bus service. To celebrate the launch of its first FX line — FX2-Division — and this historic new service, TriMet will host a grand opening the day before, on Saturday, Sept. 17. It'll be a family-friendly event open to the public to celebrate community and culture. During the celebration, free rides will be provided on its new, longer, green FX buses.
Learn more about the celebration here.
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