- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed an executive order to reduce the city's municipal fleet of 4,150 vehicles by 10% by the end of 2020. The existing fleet includes sedans, police cruisers, fire engines, dump trucks, mowers, plows and trailers, but first responder, public safety and other vehicles deemed vital will not be affected by the reduction.
- Durkan indicates the move is in line with her budgetary goals to increase efficiencies and reduce costs; she repurposed the fleet fuel savings toward other city services. The move also is intended to reduce the city's contribution to carbon emissions and complements Durkan's executive order earlier this year aiming for a fossil fuel-free fleet by 2030.
- Each city department will submit vehicle reduction plans by Feb. 1, 2019. They have been instructed to seek out mobility alternatives and partnerships to meet the city's operational needs. An action plan is expected soon, which will suggest city employee mobility strategies to reduce dependence on city-owned fleet vehicles.
It's easy to forget just how many vehicles a city owns and uses for public services until the information is laid out in this manner. Durkan's bold executive order forces city employees to determine which vehicles are absolutely necessary and which merely provide convenience.
Although the order is partially intended to increase efficiencies, it is possible that certain efficiencies could decrease without assistance from a vehicle if employees take longer to get to service locations. But new, greener mobility options are supposed to be presented under this plan, which could prevent certain employees from losing time-saving transportation altogether.
Employees are supposed to prioritize electric and hybrid options when seeking replacement vehicles. The order says the city has experienced cost savings from its existing electric fleet vehicles.
“We have been spending too many taxpayer dollars on our City fleet and we know we can move faster in transitioning to clean energy vehicles. My executive order will move Seattle closer to our goal of having a completely green fleet by 2030," Durkan said in a statement.
The fleet reduction probably will require certain employees to alter the way the do their jobs and that might take some getting used to. But it shows the city leading by example in a very visible way and encouraging residents to take part in the many municipal environmental initiatives.