The Whatcom Transportation Authority will put eight new hybrid buses on the streets of Whatcom County on Monday, Feb. 4.
The new hybrid buses offer 40 percent greater fuel economy, a 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs, and a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to the 18-year-old diesel buses they will be replacing. They will also significantly reduce the emissions of soot and oxides of nitrogen.
The Federal Transit Administration’s “State of Good Repair” initiative helped to pay for the mew hybrid buses. The WTA was awarded $2.8 million in 2011 and $1.6 million in 2012 through tis program.
Hybrid buses operate just like hybrid cars, using electricity and diesel. Batteries store energy and recharge as the bus decelerates.
When more power is needed than batteries supply, the diesel engine kicks in.
The buses are also equipped with enhanced electrification measures, such as an electronic (beltless) alternator and electric-powered cooling fans.
Riders should notice a smoother, quieter ride, as the hybrid buses never shift gears.
More information is available at www.ridewta.com/hybrid.