SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the area’s transit systems are near completion of an unprecedented diesel cleanup program. Through the Clean Diesel Bus Program, more than 1,700 diesel buses from 13 Bay Area transit districts are being retrofitted with diesel exhaust filters.

Combined, these high-tech emission control filters annually capture more than 50 tons of harmful particulate matter and 436 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx). On an average Bay Area bus, each diesel exhaust filter reduces particulate matter emissions by 59 pounds per year and reduces NOx emissions by 515 pounds per year.

The Air District, MTC, and the region’s transit districts provided funding for implementation of the Clean Diesel Bus Program. Installation of the devices, which are manufactured by San Leandro-based Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls, began in 2003. Nearly 1,400 exhaust filters for Bay Area buses already have been delivered. Most of the remaining 340 exhaust filters are scheduled for installation by the end of 2006.

While the 13 Bay Area transit districts participating in the bus retrofit have purchased some clean new buses, most of the exhaust reduction is coming from the installation of diesel exhaust filters on existing buses that have years of life remaining. The devices capture 85 percent of the particulate matter and reduce 25 percent of the NOx created by the buses’ engines. Each installation costs about $18,000, compared to $140,000 or more for a new bus.

San Francisco Muni is leading the way for the Bay Area by retrofitting 424 of its diesel buses. AC Transit will have 416 diesel exhaust filters when its retrofit program is complete in Dec. 2006.