For the first time in its 41-year history, SamTrans is releasing a Sustainability Report that summarizes and highlights the Transit District’s sustainability achievements between Fiscal Year 2010 and Fiscal Year 2016.
The bus agency is committed to supporting a more sustainable region by providing affordable, accessible, and environmentally-friendly mobility options to move people where they live, work and play. Sustainability is a key component of the District’s vision to be a mobility leader that provides safe transportation choices and a sustainable future. Its Sustainability Program regularly evaluates the agency’s operational impacts on communities and the environment, and finds ways to lessen those impacts.
SamTrans has made significant progress towards its sustainability goals. From FY2010 through FY2016, GHG emissions, criteria air pollutants, overall facility and vehicle energy use, and water use under SamTrans operations declined between 10 percent and 39 percent. Although ridership has declined during this time, SamTrans operations have become more efficient per boarding.
Ongoing initiatives to exemplify our environmental leadership and fulfill the District’s Vision and Strategic Plan include:
Energy: SamTrans is currently working on a project to replace existing high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting at its two bus base facilities with energy-efficient LEDs, which are 80 percent more efficient and require less maintenance. As of this summer, SamTrans’ electricity is 100 percent renewable and greenhouse gas emission-free. On March 1, 2017, the SamTrans Board of Directors voted to expand the agency's use of renewable electricity by partnering with Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County’s Community Choice Energy Program. Peninsula Clean Energy will supply 100 percent renewable power from sources such as solar, wind, and small hydroelectric.
Water: In response to California’s historic drought, SamTrans implemented a number of water-saving conservation measures including: reducing the frequency of exterior bus washing by half; reducing landscape irrigation; installing high-efficiency faucet aerators and showerheads in customer and staff restrooms; promptly fixing leaks; and providing water-saving tips through restroom and kitchen signage. In addition, SamTrans’ bus wash systems at both of its two bus base facilities recycle approximately 70 percent to 85 percent of the water used. Moving forward, SamTrans is also exploring capital projects to replace aging sprinkler systems with water-efficient drip irrigation.
Waste & Recycling: On July 1, 2017, all facilities adopted organics collection and the diversion rate is expected to increase to 52 percent, by weight. At SamTrans’ administrative headquarters, electronic waste (also known as e-waste) such as used computers, servers, printers, and printer cartridges are collected by an approved e-waste collector to be refurbished and reused where possible, or otherwise recycled at certified in-state recycling facilities. Paper waste is avoided at the administrative offices with printers’ defaulted to double-sided printing, and conference rooms equipped with computers and monitors for viewing documents during meetings, to reduce the need for printed handouts.
Employee Commuting: SamTrans currently offers rides on its buses free of charge for employees. SamTrans also has a Commute Alternatives Program where employees can be reimbursed for taking non-solo driving commute modes to work, including biking and non-SamTrans transit agencies.
SamTrans is also a strong supporter of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Sustainability Program and participates in the annual Sustainability & Public Transportation Workshop as well as APTA’s Sustainability committees. In 2010, the District became a founding signatory to the APTA Sustainability Commitment. In 2011, the District received the APTA Sustainability Commitment Bronze Recognition for its SamTrans bus service. As of April 2017, of the 132 signatories to the sustainability commitment, SamTrans is one of only 44 organizations to have achieved higher-level recognition.
For more details about the SamTrans Sustainability Program, visit www.samtrans.com/sustainability.
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 77 routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.
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