City of Santa Monica

Staff Report

Award Request for Proposal and enter into agreement with Stantec Architecture Inc. to Develop a Work Plan for Upgrading Big Blue Bus Facilities to Accommodate a Zero-Emission Fleet by 2030


Department:Public Works, Engineering and Street ServicesSponsors:Director Edward F F King
Category:03. Consent Calendar

Recommended Action

Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council:

1.     Award RFP SP#2604 to Stantec Architecture Inc., a California-based company, to provide design and planning services for the Big Blue Bus Charging Infrastructure Project; and

2.     Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute an agreement with Stantec Architecture Inc., in an amount not to exceed $537,663 (including a 10% contingency) for two years.

Staff Report Body


The City not only promotes public transit through its regional Big Blue Bus (BBB) operations that carry nearly 14 million passengers a year, but is committed to continuing to be a leader in powering the BBB fleet by the most environmentally sustainable means.  Transportation emissions, including those from BBB, account for 64 percent of the City’s carbon emissions. As a leader at the forefront of sustainability, the City established a goal of converting 100 percent of its BBB fleet from natural gas buses to zero emissions buses (ZEB) by 2030, which may include battery-electric buses, hydrogen fuel cell buses, or a combination of both. The Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), adopted by Council in May 2019, aims to reduce citywide carbon emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner. The CAAP also includes a goal of achieving carbon neutrality in municipal operations by 2030. Electrifying the BBB fleet will play a significant role in achieving these emissions reductions and supports the Council Framework priority to address climate change.


Transitioning the BBB fleet to ZEB by 2030 requires the development of a plan for the implementation of a series of phased upgrades to the BBB campus to ensure efficient allocation of campus space and resources and to ensure uninterrupted road operations.  Staff recommends Stantec Architecture Inc. (Stantec) to develop the plan for an amount not to exceed $537,663 (including a 10% contingency) for a two-year period.



In 2016, the City Council directed staff to begin working on a plan to convert the BBB fleet to ZEBs by 2030 (Attachment A). To fulfill this objective, staff deployed two high-speed chargers at the BBB campus in June 2019 and took delivery of one prototype battery-electric bus manufactured by Gillig, Inc. and Cummins, Inc in July 2019. After conducting a series of performance tests, staff placed the bus into service in August 2019, replacing an aging 2004 LNG-powered bus that had reached the end of its useful life. In late 2019, staff plans to return to Council requesting authorization to order up to 18 additional ZEBs to be delivered in Fiscal Year 2020-2021.


Table 1, below, provides the anticipated fleet replacement schedule through 2030.



# of ZEB Buses to Procure

Anticipated ZEB Arrival Date



































The transition to ZEBs would require significant facility and yard upgrades to the BBB campus as existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses are phased out gradually over 11 years. These upgrades would include the installation of charging infrastructure and changes in bus circulation and parking at the BBB campus. 


To ensure a seamless transition, a plan would be developed for the implementation of phased upgrades throughout the BBB campus.  Milestones and phased upgrades in the plan would be informed by:

·         a comparison of ZEB road performance against LNG and CNG buses and how each bus type influences BBB’s current operations

·         a review of how combinations of ZEB, CNG, and LNG buses perform when serving riders

·         a review of the time required for different bus types to recharge or refuel at the BBB campus.

Campus upgrades would be phased as BBB initially operates a mix of CNG, LNG, and ZEB buses and eventually exclusively ZEBs.

Past Council Actions

06/28/16 (Attachment A)

City Council established the BBB Zero Carbon 2030 Fleet Plan, directed staff to provide an analysis outlining the steps that the City would undertake to plan, implement, and track progress toward zero carbon emissions for Big Blue Bus operations, and authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a Professional Services Agreement with a qualified consultant to assist BBB staff in conducting the analysis.

04/24/18 (Attachment B)

City Council directed staff to move forward with the electrification of the BBB fleet by authorizing the purchase of one Gillig battery-electric bus and conducting a pilot program with 10 or more battery-electric vehicles, and providing a proof of concept plan.


Vendor Selection

Bidder Recommendation

Best Qualified Firm


Evaluation Criteria

Training/credentials/experience, competence/skill, capacity/ability to perform services promptly, sufficiency of financial/other resources, character/reputation, ability to provide future services as needed, past working relationship

Municipal Code

SMMC 2.24.190


RFPs Received


Black & Veatch

Burns & McDonnell

BurroHappold Engineering

Center for Transportation & the Environment

DHS Consulting




JC Chang & Associates




RFP Data

Posted On

Posted On

Advertised In
(City Charter & SMMC)

Vendors Downloaded

Date Publicly Opened


City's Online Bidding Site

Santa Monica Daily Press




Justification to Award

Staff interviewed four shortlisted firms. Based on this criteria and criteria in SMMC 2.24.190, staff recommends Stantec as the best qualified firm to develop a work plan for upgrading the BBB campus to accommodate an entirely zero-emission fleet by 2030. The recommendation is based on the firm’s previous experience working with the City on the BBB Master Plan and Fuel/Wash Facility, positive references from Stantec clients, and its relevant experience working with over 20 transit agencies on zero emissions bus and vehicle projects to accommodate a zero-emission fleet. These agencies include the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority, Orange County Transportation Authority, Napa Valley Transportation Authority, Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transportation District, and the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon. Additionally, the Stantec team is technically robust, which is highlighted by their in-depth approach to route and energy modeling that was recently used to complete a fleet electrification feasibility study for the Toronto Transit Commission. Finally, their local project team is comprised of transit industry professional with decades of experience in many areas, including sustainable engineering and design, project management, infrastructure solutions, alternative energy solutions, cost estimating, and operational knowledge.


Financial Impacts and Budget Actions

Staff seeks authority to approve funding from the Big Blue Bus Fund to award a professional services agreement with Stantec to provide design and planning services for the Big Blue Bus Charging Infrastructure Project


Agreement Request


Request Amount

FY 2019-20 Budget

CIP Account #

Total Contract Amount






Meeting History

Oct 15, 2019 5:35 PM  City Council Special Meeting
draft Draft