June 6, 2008
News from King County Department of Transportation
Release date: June 6, 2008
More Metro hybrid buses hit the streets
Deployment of 60-foot buses will help relieve overcrowding
As people turn to King County Metro Transit in record numbers, an influx of 22 new articulated hybrid buses is about to make the ride a little easier for many customers.
Metro already put six of the new articulated hybrids into service this week. The remaining hybrid coaches are in the process of being serviced and will be deployed within the next few weeks. Other hybrid buses already in the fleet will be reassigned so that the larger coaches are spread across Metro’s system to help ease overcrowding on some of the busiest routes.
“Metro has many commute-time trips that are regularly operating with packed 40-foot buses," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "These new 60-foot buses will help us relieve some of the overcrowding on popular routes that are frequently standing-room-only.”
At least 40 weekday trips that are currently overcrowded and operating with standard 40-foot buses will be assigned larger coaches. Once all 22 are in service, the new buses will deliver approximately 90 total weekday trips.
The hybrids are 60 percent larger than Metro’s standard buses, and will relieve an overall shortage of larger buses in Metro’s fleet. This will give Metro the flexibility it needs to maximize the use of its fleet to carry the most passengers. The addition brings the total number of hybrid buses in the Metro system to 236 – one of the largest articulated hybrid fleets in North America.
This next generation of hybrids is the result of an innovative partnership first announced by Sims in May 2007 between Metro, New Flyer Industries, General Motors Corporation and Cummins Engine Company.
“The excellent work of our industrial partners will provide our customers with the continued good performance of clean hybrid-electric buses,” said Jim Boon, Metro’s manager of Vehicle Maintenance and Procurement.
The hybrid buses have already proven themselves to be excellent performers. They achieve better fuel economy compared to regular buses, while delivering a smoother and quieter ride for passengers. Metro estimates each hybrid bus burns 30 percent less fuel than a conventional coach, which adds up to much-needed fuel economy in this era of escalating fuel costs.
This latest bus acquisition is allowing Metro to remain at the forefront of a growing movement to fight global warming. By linking corporate responsibility with the delivery of quality public transportation, both Metro and its partners have led the way in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. More than 2,000 of these buses have been sold across North America since first being introduced in 2004.
This month’s delivery precedes another Metro order for 30 additional hybrid buses to help beef-up transit options during the first phases of construction on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Those buses are expected to arrive in 2009. And, future deliveries will include 100 new specially designed hybrids that will serve Metro’s new RapidRide bus rapid transit service on five busy corridors in King County beginning in 2010.