Clean air, clear water, stable temperatures, fertile land, creatures thriving everywhere—we must work to turn this vision for Earth into everlasting reality. The national theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet,” encouraging commitment across the globe. Metro remains dedicated to building a sustainable transit system that creates equitable, healthy communities and a greener planet.
Metro is commemorating Earth Day 2022 with our own Earth Week, highlighting some of our favorite sustainability actions.
Learn more about the debut of a new long-range battery-electric bus route and the expansion of our RapidRide transit network. Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, and we’ll reveal how Metro is working toward an even greener future with innovative plans for our Access fleet, layover charging, and Metro’s South Base Annex.
Serving where needs are greatest
One of the most important ways Metro helps the climate is by getting people where they need to go without having to drive alone, reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. Riders are at the center of everything we do at Metro, as we continue to build an all-day frequent and reliable transit network that connects buses, boats, trains, and streetcars across our region.
Throughout the past two years, customers and community members have guided us on where needs are greatest, and we maintained and improved service where people travel to most, including school, work, and other life essentials. We’re delivering more than 11,000 bus trips and carrying about 200,000 bus riders every weekday.
Creating more environmentally sustainable fleet and facilities
Some of Metro’s largest investments are in our fleet and facilities and we want to make sure those investments support our commitment to a healthy environment. To reduce the amount of electricity consumed at our bases and offices, Metro has made the transition from fluorescent and High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting to the more energy efficient, and longer-lasting, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. The transition to LEDs means a reduction in energy use, along with an annual savings of $500,000 in utility bills and reduced maintenance and replacement costs of bulbs.
From the fleet perspective, the next generation of battery-electric buses coming into service this year were designed, in the words of King County Executive Dow Constantine, to handle “our region’s unique conditions.” Able to travel approximately 140 miles on a single charge, each battery bus reduces tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 65 tons each year — the equivalent of 21 cars. And those battery-electric buses have a new facility to charge at.
Our new South Base Test facility can charge up to nine battery-electric coaches simultaneously. It was created with an “interchangeable design” that uses charging infrastructure from multiple manufacturers, meaning all major battery-electric buses will be able to successfully charge at any station. The facility will also charge electric vehicles already in use by Metro and King County.
Providing On-Demand Services that “right fit” our communities
Metro’s on-demand services connect our riders to transit hubs and essential community locations in areas where fixed-route services aren’t efficient. These services are especially helpful in encouraging people to use transit instead of driving alone, which is worse for the climate. Customers who use our on-demand services—and their accessible mobile apps—report reductions in commute time, increases in feelings of personal safety, and greater independence. Services include Via to Transit, Ride Pingo to Transit, and Community Ride.
Metro is proud to make the environment a priority for this organization, King County communities, and our planet. By choosing to leave your car at home and to ride with us, you are helping present and future riders onboard Metro—and onboard this spinning orb—breathe and dream a little easier.
Michelle Allison is Metro’s Deputy General Manager