If you have been driving in Providence, Rhode Island the past few months, you may have noticed the new RIPTA buses. In additon to being better looking than the older models, they are also diesel-electric, meaning the the buses and trolleys have both diesel and electric motors. The battery recharges when braking occurs so they are more fuel efficient and reduce emmisions. This ensures less air and noise pollution than the typical diesel buses. For this reason, these buses really make sense on the routes that are around the city rather than those that use the highway.
Some other improvements include, more handicapped accessibility by replacing the old wheelchair lifts with a hydraulic ramp that can be manually operated if needed. This saves money on costly repairs as well. The buses also boast stainless steel bike racks to accomodate those who like to bike.
Currently there are 63 hybrid buses and 10 hybrid trolleys in RIPTA’s fleet of 240 vehicles. They were purchased with federal economic stimulus money and cost about $625,000 (the trolleys are $697,000). Why make the switch? RIPTA currently allocates $6 million dollars a year to fuel costs so they are hoping these buses will be about 30% more fuel efficient.
Below is a video that gives you a tour of a new hybrid bus:
Do you think purchasing these buses was money well spent? Have you rode on one of the hybrid buses? If so, let us know your thoughts.
Photo Credit: ecoRI.org
Video Credit: You Tube Channel ecori111