[IMAGE]SoundTransitNewHybridBusFeb25Story-6.jpg[/IMAGE] On Thursday, the Sound Transit board of directors authorized the purchase of 34 new hybrid and clean diesel buses for ST Express routes serving Pierce and Snohomish county riders.
Board members authorized $16.9 million for the purchase of 24 40-foot hybrid buses, and $8.1 million for 10 60-foot clean diesel buses. The procurement of the buses is a part of the fleet replacement program funded by the Sound Transit 2 and Sound Move ballot measures passed by voters in 2008 and 1996.
The new buses will replace coaches first purchased when the agency began providing regional bus service in 1999. They will reduce engine emissions and lower operating and maintenance costs of the agency's bus fleet.
The new coaches offer a sleek, modern design that includes rider amenities, such as high-back reclining seats, individual overhead lighting, overhead luggage compartments and air conditioning.
The high-capacity clean diesel buses will seat 56 passengers each and ease overcrowding on routes for Everett, Lynnwood and Woodinville commuters. Sound Transit estimates that the clean diesel buses, which are replacing 10 forty-foot vehicles in its fleet, will save an estimated 5 percent in annual fuel consumption.
New Flyer Industries Inc. in Crookstan, Minn. and Winnipeg, Manitoba will manufacture the coaches for service this fall. Community Transit will operate the buses.
The 40-foot hybrid buses, which will replace the oldest coaches in Sound Transit's fleet, will seat 37 passengers each and serve Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup and other routes operating in Pierce County. Sound Transit received $5.3 million in competitive grant monies from the Federal Transit Administration to offset the costs of replacing 24 standard diesel buses with the hybrid models.
Gillig Corp. in Hayward, Calif., will manufacture the buses for service in fall of 2012. Pierce Transit will operate the buses.