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MTS Purchases 12 Electric Buses to Service South Bay’s All-Electric Iris Rapid Route



Continuing its commitment to cleaner air and expanding access to transit in the region, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) announced the purchase order of 12 sixty-foot battery-electric buses to provide service on the new 100% electric Iris Rapid. This new route will provide fast, limited-stop service in the South Bay area, from Otay Mesa to Imperial Beach via State Route 905 and Coronado Ave. It is scheduled to open in early 2023.

“The purchase of these buses for the first all-electric Rapid route in our region is a huge leap forward towards a greener future, environmental justice, sustainability, and better air quality,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board Chair and Chair, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “MTS will also put five new 40-foot electric buses into service over the next few weeks, adding to its existing fleet of eight electric buses. When the Iris Rapid comes on line, MTS will have 25 electric buses in operation.

The transition to an all-electric fleet is part of the  MTS Zero-Emissions Bus (ZEB) program. The Iris Rapid, represents the next step in MTS’ commitment to transitioning to a fully zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040, and helping the San Diego region meet its climate action plan goals. The Iris Rapid is the latest expansion of MTS’ Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network and will provide a first-of-its-kind all-electric Rapid service to residents in San Diego’s South Bay, by linking the Otay Mesa Transit Center to the neighborhoods along the Imperial Beach shores. In between, the Iris Rapid will connect riders with the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley at the Iris Ave. Transit Center, providing an important link to the employment and education centers in downtown and UTC.

For this latest electric-bus order, MTS selected New Flyer of America Inc. (“New Flyer”), a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc.

“In the past 30 years, NFI has delivered over 600 buses to MTS. It was one of the first transit agencies in the U.S. to move to a compressed natural gas bus fleet, and is a pioneer in sustainable mobility,” said Paul Soubry, President and Chief Executive Officer, NFI. “We are pleased to continue supporting MTS as it drives towards California’s Innovative Clean Transit goal of a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2040.”

These electric buses are equipped with advanced modular battery packaging, long-range batteries, and an innovative lightweight traction drive system, delivering smooth, quiet, and emission-free transportation to San Diego County.