BALTIMORE, MD (November 15, 2010) - The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has rolled out the first of 41 new diesel electric hybrid buses as part of a transition to an all-hybrid bus fleet for the Baltimore region. Five of the new buses have begun service, and the balance will be in operation by January 2011. Hybrid buses rely on battery- powered electric motors at speeds up to 12 MPH, after which they transition to a combination of electric and diesel power. The buses operate on electric power approximately 90 percent of the time, and the batteries are recharged by the diesel engine and the braking process.
By using 23 percent less fuel than conventional diesel buses, the new buses emit less pollution and less carbon, thereby helping Maryland meet its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The current hybrid fleet saves more than 530,000 gallons of fuel annually. At $2.50 per gallon, that adds up to a savings of more than 1.3 million dollars per year. The buses are also quieter and more mechanically reliable which also translates into operating budget savings for MTA.
"Hybrid buses are part of the future of sustainable transportation," remarked Governor Martin O'Malley. "We are committed to transitioning the fleet to 100 percent hybrid which puts MTA at the forefront of transit agencies nationally."
With the introduction of 41 additional buses, MTA's hybrid inventory totals 161 out of a total fleet of 748. The fleet will have approximately 500 hybrid buses by 2016. Transit buses are generally in service for at least 12 years and may travel up to 600,000 miles during that time. The new hybrids are manufactured by New Flyer Industries and cost $632,000 each.
In addition to purchasing new hybrids, MTA is working to reduce fuel consumption on its older buses by retrofitting them with electric cooling systems that provide an additional 9 percent fuel savings and eliminate engine overheating.
"The MTA constantly searches for new ways to use the latest green technologies," said MTA Administrator Ralign T. Wells. "Every day, more than 350,000 people use MTA bus and rail services. By using public transit, you help to lessen your eco-footprint by reducing traffic congestion and air pollution."
For more information on MTA service, visit the MTA website at www.mta.maryland.gov. Customers can also call the MTA Transit Information Center Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 410-539-5000. TTY 410-539-3497. To sign-up for e-mail about service modifications and delays, go to www.mta.maryland.gov and click e-mail notification.