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Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2011

City adds 3 hybrid diesel-electric buses to public transit fleet

One of three new hybrid-diesel buses for the T was on a training run Thursday, August 11, 2011. The new eco-transit vehicles will be put into service on bus route 11 on August 22.

August 11, 2011

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One of three new hybrid-diesel buses for Lawrence Transit was on a training run Thursday, August 11, 2011. The new eco-transit vehicles will be put in to service on bus route 11 on August 22.

One of three new hybrid-diesel buses for Lawrence Transit was on a training run Thursday, August 11, 2011. The new eco-transit vehicles will be put in to service on bus route 11 on August 22.

Lawrence’s newest green experiment is under way.

Three new hybrid diesel-electric buses joined Lawrence’s public transit fleet Thursday. The 40-foot buses operate similarly to a hybrid car — a bank of batteries largely power the machine when it is operating at low speeds, while the diesel engine recharges the batteries and helps the bus operate at higher speeds.

The end results, city leaders hope, are significant reductions in fuel costs, maintenance costs and pollution.

“I think compared to the old buses that we have been running, the results are going to be off of this planet,” said Robert Nugent, the city’s public transit administrator.

Nugent and several trade journals estimated that the fuel savings from hybrid-electric buses were between 30 percent to 60 percent, depending on how the buses are used.

City Commissioner Mike Dever, who pushed the city to order the buses in late 2009, said there will be noticeable differences in places other than the fuel pump.

“I think it is going to be a lot more pleasant experience for anyone who ends up being behind one of these buses,” Dever said. “They’re going to smell better.”

The buses are expected to reduce carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions by up to 90 percent. In addition to having a smaller diesel engine that emits less fumes, Nugent said the buses are equipped with a secondary emissions cleaning system that improves the quality of emissions.

But the buses do come with an extra cost. The buses cost about $600,000 — or about $250,000 more than a standard bus. The city received about $1.8 million in federal stimulus dollars in 2009 that allowed the buses to be purchased without any local funding.

“That allowed us to feel a lot more comfortable about giving these a try,” Dever said.

Now the city will track the performance of the buses to determine whether they are living up to expectations. Among some of the benefits the city expects to see are:

• Brakes on the bus are expected to last significantly longer because the buses are equipped with special “resistive transmissions.” Those transmissions function like a brake anytime the driver lets off the accelerator.

“We spend a lot on replacing brakes every year,” Nugent said. “We operate at an average speed of about 10 to 12 miles per hour, so that tells you how often we’re stopping.”

• Easier entry. The buses have an air suspension system that allows the bus to drop to about eight inches off the ground when stopped. That will eliminate the need for a special hydraulic lift to assist people in wheelchairs. Instead, people with disabilities will be able to use a ramp that extends out from the bus.

• Quieter motors. The buses will not be as quiet as a hybrid car, but they will be quieter than the average diesel bus, Nugent said. The diesel engine in the bus will run at all times to power accessories and to help keep the batteries charged. But the engine is smaller than a traditional diesel engine.

Transit leaders put the three buses out on the streets Thursday for training purposes. They’ll start hauling passengers on Aug. 22. The buses likely will be used on Route No. 11, which serves downtown, the Kansas University campus, and the area around 31st and Iowa streets.

The new buses replace three models that the city has had since 2001.

Comments

Phone_Man 2 years, 8 months ago

Kernal, you are correct but the bulk of the profits go back to the mother country. If we kept our jobs here in the US instead of shipping them overseas we wouldn't need the Nissan and Toyota jobs or need to buy their crappy cars.

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kernal 2 years, 8 months ago

Phone_Man, Nissan has had plants in the U.S. for twenty-five years, Toyota, VW, KIA and others do as well. Salaries paid to U.S. employees, at foreign automakers plants located in the U.S., are in the billions. Approximately one hundred thousand U.S. citizens have jobs in this country because of foreign automakers and that doesn't include the independent parts companies who sell goods to the automakers.

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crittersister 2 years, 8 months ago

" The city received about $1.8 million in federal stimulus dollars in 2009 that allowed the buses to be purchased without any local funding."

Maybe some people should read the whole article before they get their undies in a bundle.

Hey Phone Man. Where do you think all the gas comes from that goes in your tank? Thanks for helping out the Middle East.

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Elaine Elliott 2 years, 8 months ago

I love my Japanese car, I would love it just the same if it were made in America, but it's not. I love these buses too. Good work city of Lawrence! I'll gladly have my tax dollars go to cleaner air.

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Phone_Man 2 years, 8 months ago

I love Gas and Diesel sucking ground shaking noise polluting V8 power. I own 5 V8 fossil fuel burning beauties and would love nothing more than to see the Hybrid clown cars banned from the WORLD forever. I also love to chop down trees to use in my Smoker all summer long and in the winter I chop down more trees to heat my house. I think tree huggers should be given their own state; say California. You can drive your Japanese Hybrid clown cars to your hearts content, eat granola, plant some trees and sing Kumbaya. I really don't care what you do just don't force your over priced fairy tale "green" beliefs or buses on me.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 8 months ago

Just further proof that this community is run by idiots. They plead and cry about poverty, we have to have tax increases. Then these dolts go and spend this money claiming vapid benefits for the 10 or 12 regular riders. No wonder this city is a morass of stupidity in government, the people don't care a whit about city elections and we get these dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks commissioners who adhere to these slogans and -notions and spend, spend, spend for imaginary and invisible benefits. Sounds like Governer Perry's prayer fest.

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pace 2 years, 8 months ago

Students ride for free, Free because they pay through a student fee program rather than every time they get on the bus. Damn them, bulk payers. they don't count if they don't pay in the old fashion way, like my daddy. No one is on the buses, except people who don't count because if they ride the bus they don't count. The students gong to high school or college don't count because they are students. The elderly don't count, the kids going to work don't count, people going to shops don't count, going to the doctor or dentist don't count, because to count you have to have a car and drive it, goll darn it.. Spin it, a good spin is even better than a fair and reasoned argument, easier too, you don't have to use your noggin if your mouth is moving. It is good enough for the tea-party, it is good enough to present as excuse for your ranting hate based faith. Is anti bus, anti education, anti health care reform, anti jobs spins part of the revised commandments of the new hate based faith?

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imastinker 2 years, 8 months ago

Calling this a hybrid seems dishonest.

This is a electric bus with an undersized diesel generator. It has a battery bank to assist in acceleration when the motors require more power than the generator can provide.

It probably will smell better, although not because it's a "hybrid." If it does it will be because of the downstream filtration and emissions equipment on this.

I would be really curious to see what kind of fuel savings there are. Diesels are pretty efficient all through the power band, and putting a 150hp diesel that runs at 50% hp isn't going to offer much of a savings over a 300hp diesel that runs at 25%.

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Random56 2 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence loves to spend money so maybe it's a good thing.lol.

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Random56 2 years, 8 months ago

How is maintenance reduced compared to regular deisel powered bus? From my experience the more complex someting is the harder it is to diagnose the problem and fix it (especially if it has 2 power sources not just 1). Don't the batteries only last 8-10 years, and that is one of the most expensive additions to the new technology. I think the added maintenance will cancel out the fuel savings.

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Ralph Reed 2 years, 8 months ago

@corduroypants. I second your question. Most of the advertising is public service messages. Some money could be made from allowing advertising in and on the buses.

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Ralph Reed 2 years, 8 months ago

Disregarding the usual naysayers, I think this is a great thing; a step in the right direction. As a note, the stimulus $ wasn't all intended for jobs, some of it went to other areas. In this case, public transporation.

We use the T when we can and plan to use it more when we retire. I'm glad it's here. Have any of you naysayers used the T on a regular basis?

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corduroypants 2 years, 8 months ago

Honest question - why don't they sell advertising on these? Is there no market for it? Seems like an easy way to generate revenue.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 8 months ago

big kansas city type inner city busses for lil' ol' lawrence, ks, an island of extravagance.....and the ridership increased dramatically when the city bought the satellite parking busses for the k.u. students.

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snitty 2 years, 8 months ago

I, for one, am very glad to see Lawrence get these quieter, more fuel-efficient buses.

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Progressive_Kansan 2 years, 8 months ago

Way to go Lawrence! What a great step in the right direction.

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Benjamin Roberts 2 years, 8 months ago

"The routes that these new buses serve actually get quite full when the students are here."

Lawrence: A University with a town in it to help pay the bills.

/s

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Keith Richards 2 years, 8 months ago

A lot of complainers here this morning.

2,700,000 rides last year. The routes that these new buses serve actually get quite full when the students are here.

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KS 2 years, 8 months ago

Do folks actually ride those things? Everytime I see them they are empty.

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tkmoore 2 years, 8 months ago

Wasn't stimulus money for jobs?

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm sure both riders of the T will appreciate the extra hundreds of thousands of dollars whizzed away for their benefit.

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FarneyMac 2 years, 8 months ago

How many more miles must these new, inexplicably full-size buses drive to save a cent on fuel and make up for the extra $250,000 cost?

In a transit system consisting of depressingly empty vans, who the hell decided that the city needs full-size buses? They couldn't even fill the minibuses they used to have.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 8 months ago

No wonder the city, county and state are broke.

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larrytdog 2 years, 8 months ago

Why is this city run by Mike Dever's nose? He didn't like the way portable toilets smelled in the KU Football embroglio last fall, now he doesn't like the way buses smell. Please somebody send a respirator or some nose plugs to City Hall for crying out loud.

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