On Earth Day, we recognize that everyone has a role in protecting our planet—and that role could be as simple as riding transit more often.
Prior to COVID-19, Metro, your regional transit system, took the equivalent of 190,000 cars off the road each weekday, a big step in helping King County meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions countywide by 50 percent by 2030.
As people return to work, school, restaurants, live events, and social gatherings, we look forward to riders returning to transit, the safer and greener mobility option.
King County Metro wants to thank all our riders who take a bus, join a vanpool, board the Water Taxi, or ride the streetcar or light rail, as well as those who walk or bike, for helping improve the health of our communities and environment. Using transit reduces climate, air, and water pollution harmful to all creatures—from salmon to Orcas and humans.
Metro’s commitment to Earth Day also can be seen in the transition of our fleet to zero-emission vehicles powered by renewable energy. Two recent events reflect that work:
- Last fall, Metro celebrated the retirement of its last fully diesel-powered coaches,
- This spring, we saw the arrival of the first of 40 battery-electric buses, coaches capable of traveling approximately 140 miles on a single charge.
The new buses are joining a fleet in which all our coaches are either fully hybrid (diesel-electric) or zero-emission (electric trolleys and battery-electric). Metro has committed to purchasing only zero-emission buses beyond 2023 and building the charging infrastructure to support them. These steps now will help us in meeting our zero-emission goal by 2040 or sooner, as technology and capital projects allow.
Metro also understands that environmental justice is a vital part of Earth Day. Prioritizing transit service where needs are greatest and the electrification of our fleet are part of our “Mobility Framework”—Metro’s blueprint for centering equity and sustainability in our work. This framework played a vital role in the development of the Renton-Kent-Auburn Mobility Project (RKAAMP) which is providing greater mobility options to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and underserved communities in south King County. It’s also driving updates to Metro’s policies.
The framework underscores our commitment to prioritize the deployment of our battery-electric coaches—and the facilities to support them— first in BIPOC communities that have disproportionately borne the brunt of health impacts from air pollution and are on the frontlines of climate change.
Metro’s actions to address the climate crisis are in collaboration with the steps King County is taking as part of its Strategic Climate Action Plan. We are committed to ensuring the county achieves the Strategic Climate Action Plan’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of this decade, building an equitable climate future, and preparing for the impacts of climate change.
Happy Earth Day—and thank you for being part of the solution, because every day you use Metro, you help our community and our planet.