Readers React: How L.A. can have electric buses that don’t run out of energy after a few dozen miles

LANCASTER, CA-FEBRUARY 2, 2018: Overall, shows the BYD production facility in Lancaster on February
The BYD production facility in Lancaster.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: There is another electric bus technology that could address climate change goals without the reliability and range issues of the buses built by Chinese firm BYD Ltd. (“Stalls, stops and breakdowns: Problems plague push for electric buses,” May 20)

Trolley buses, which are powered by overhead wires, have been in service for decades in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. Los Angeles too once had trolley bus lines but they disappeared along with the streetcars in 1961.

The drawback of these systems is the extra cost of building and maintaining the overhead wire infrastructure. No doubt, some would object to the “visual pollution” of the trolley wires. One reliability issue that trolley buses face is that the trolley poles will occasionally jump off the wires, which can be quickly remedied by the driver with a resulting delay of a few minutes.

Of course, the article on transit agencies buying buses from BYD wasn’t really about technology, but rather the usual confluence of money and politics.


Glenn Olsen, Riverside


To the editor: In spite of an increasing population served and unrelenting traffic congestion, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority continues to lose ridership.

How does it expect to increase ridership by adding “unreliable” to its reputation for being inconvenient and unsafe? How does it help the fight against climate change to cause more people to use their private vehicles for trips instead of non-polluting buses?


I think Metro needs to rethink its mission.

James King, Covina


To the editor: This is truly a heartbreaking story. It makes no difference, really, whether the politicians involved with getting Metro and other transit agencies to buy BYD buses were actually misleading the public for their own personal gain, or if in fact they were the ones being conned by an electric bus company that knew its product was inferior.

Either way, the people we elected to oversee the administration of public life, the people we trusted, did not do their job. And, as always seems to be the case lately, no one is held accountable and the public is stuck with the bill.

Is it any wonder that voters, desperate for change, elect the most unlikely outsiders to office?

Bart Braverman, Indio

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