To reduce emissions and save fuel, Metra Transit System hopes to add hybrid diesel-electric buses to its fleet.
“It’s cutting-edge technology,” said Metra director Saundra Hunter. “It’s clean and doesn’t make any noise. We never had one in the city.”
Plans for the new buses got a boost Tuesday when Columbus Council approved Metra’s request to buy up to five buses from Daimler Buses North America Inc. over the next five years. Each 35-foot unit would cost $483,146 to $512,793.
Hunter said Metra received $2.7 million from the President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus program. That money will be used to buy trolleys and more clean diesel buses. If possible, Hunter said the hybrid electric buses may be bought with federal grant money or a second stimulus package.
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“If we don’t get them with stimulus, we’ll get them from regular grant money,” Hunter said.
Although the hybrid buses cost more than the clean diesel now in use, both reduce emissions to keep from polluting the air.
“There is no emission,” Hunter said of the electric buses.
A clean diesel bus is powered totally by the engine, but the electric bus is started by the diesel engine then runs mostly on battery power, said Thomas Taylor, maintenance manager at Metra.
Diesel electric buses already are in use in New York, he said.
The bus will seat 34 passengers and get about 5 miles per gallon.
Lithium batteries are located on top of the vehicle.
A Metra bus is normally replaced after it reaches 500,000 miles or 12 years in service.
“We want to put good equipment out there,” Hunter said. “If there is another fuel crisis, they will not require much.”