Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Look to future

Some unexpected federal funding will give Lawrence city officials an opportunity to consider alternatives to traditional diesel-powered public transit buses.

February 24, 2009

Advertisement

By all means, city officials should be looking to the future as they consider the purchase of new buses for the T public transit system.

At their meeting tonight, Lawrence city commissioners will receive an update on replacing the current diesel-fueled buses with vehicles that run on alternative fuels, perhaps compressed natural gas or a renewable source such as biodiesel. Alternative fuel buses likely would cost more ($480,000 per vehicle compared with $320,000 per diesel-powered vehicle, the city estimates), but if the city receives an expected $1.9 million in transit funding from the federal stimulus package, this would be a great way to invest some of it.

There are, of course, issues to be investigated before the city makes a decision. Before choosing compressed natural gas vehicles, for instance, the city needs to have a way to refuel the buses. Building a city facility to refuel the buses would be expensive, and the opportunity to provide that refueling service might be a nice business opportunity for a private contractor. Whatever vehicles the city chooses need to be reliable and preferably have a proven track record, like the compressed natural gas buses used at Kansas City International Airport.

The city shouldn’t go too far into uncharted territory, but it doesn’t make sense to stick with old technology that likely will be outdated before the new buses are retired. New technologies have the potential to lower fuel costs and reduce emissions — an advantage that any driver following one of the diesel-powered buses surely can appreciate.

The current economic downturn has been a burden to the city in many ways, but as several observers have pointed out, sometimes crises also present opportunities. Using federal funds to offset the cost of buying more modern, energy-efficient T buses could be one of those opportunities.

Comments

hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

See, they never had a plan when this was put to a vote.

KU is the one who should be getting more efficient buses instead of those cargo planes that are driven around all going onto the campus because they are so big they have no place to turn around.

More discussion and the end result will be more money>

Didn't the article say that there would be a need for a new facility for these buses? Prvate contractor? Hmm, lets see, how this works. City buys land from a cronie and then that bails them out $$$, then city leases back land to private contractor for ONE DOLLAR. Good deal for private contractor, that's like the article said, this could be a good deal for a private contractor...:)

0

bndairdundat 5 years, 2 months ago

See, that's why I'm not a rocket scientist- - - - -

Failed to consider all options - - - -

0

JackRipper 5 years, 2 months ago

We have buses now, the problem is the city and ku still encourages people to drive. Until we get rid of easy parking and make it so it makes more sense to ride the bus all this bull talk about what the buses are burning is nonsense feel good crap like those who buy Prius' as the answer. For the most part bicycling and walking should be pushed and the bus system used to enhance those activities first. Lawrence is still in the mentality that if we consume something different we have done something. A town that supposedly full of educated people.

0

Chris Ogle 5 years, 2 months ago

bndair- 6 empty buses not running would use less fuel too.

0

bndairdundat 5 years, 2 months ago

For $1.9 million the city could buy at most 4 new buses @ $480,000 each. With a difference of $160,000 per bus the additional money spent would be $640,000. Has anyone calculated the difference in biofuel and diesel prices to see how long it would take to recover these additional funds? Would the new buses also be worn out before this difference was recovered? The diesel engines today, although not perfect, produce much lower emissions than similar engines 20 years ago. $640,000 could mean 6 buses instead of 4, with no change in technology. But then, 4 empty buses, using biofuel, driving around Lawrence would use significantly less fuel than 6 empty buses using diesel fuel........................

0

parrotuya 5 years, 2 months ago

Natural gas is great! It sure feels good to be stuck in traffic behind a slow-moving empty bus that doesn't emit foul-smelling diesel fumes!

More tax cuts for empty buses, please!

More and bigger tax cuts!

0

righthanded 5 years, 2 months ago

How about save all the money....NO T buses. Give all the money back to the tax payers!

0

Chris Ogle 5 years, 2 months ago

energy-efficient T buses, with only 3 seats.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.