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Metro Transit adds hybrid buses

Seventeen new hybrid Metro Transit buses, painted shades of bright green, were introduced to the metro area Thursday in a step in the transit agency’s efforts to “go greener.?
The hybrids, which cost $557,000 each, use bio-diesel fuel and are cleaner and quieter. The buses already in Metro Transit’s fleet have averaged 4.71 miles to the gallon, which is a one-mile-per-gallon difference from the 3.86 for a standard bus. This may not seem like a big difference, but in percentage terms, the Star Tribune said it’s “significant.?
Metro Transit anticipates a 22 percent or greater improvement in fuel economy, which translates to 1,965 gallons of fuel per bus saved annually, on top of the decreased production of pollutants. The Pioneer Press said the hybrids will produce about 90 percent fewer emissions than the buses they replace.
The federal government pays 80 percent of the cost of a new bus, with local sources contributing the rest. But with lower operating costs, Metro Transit hopes to recoup the local portion of the extra cost per bus in a little over six years. This is based on the agency’s assumption that once all 172 hybrids in the total fleet of more than 800 buses are running in five years, Metro Transit expects to save 338,000 gallons of fuel a year – combine that with current fuel price of $3.25 a gallon, and the investment will pay off in six years.
To persuade more people to give the buses a try, the agency announced that rides on the green hybrids (you can’t miss them – they’re the most colorful objects on Nicollet) will be free on Monday on routes 17 and 18. Route 17 serves Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Uptown, Nicollet Mall and Northeast Minneapolis, while Route 18 serves Bloomington, Richfield, South Minneapolis and Nicollet Mall.
Go to the Start Tribune article for more comprehensive coverage; The Pioneer Press only offers basic information.

The Star Tribune:

The Pioneer Press: