SamTrans is debuting the first batch of its new energy efficient hybrid buses this week.
Earlier this year, SamTrans’ board of directors approved the purchase of 25 diesel-electric hybrid buses. Five of those new vehicles can be seen in operation throughout SamTrans’ service area. The remaining 20 will be integrated into service next month.
The low-floor buses use long-life, maintenance-free batteries to capture and store braking energy and advanced solid state controllers to manage and blend power sources.
For the community and SamTrans riders this means reduced emissions and smoother, quieter buses. For SamTrans it means using less fuel, which translates into lower operating costs.
All 25 of the buses were manufactured by Gillig, a Hayward, Calif.-based company, meaning local workers were responsible for building the vehicles. SamTrans received $4.9 million in funds from the Federal Transit Administration's Urbanized Area Formula Program to pay for the hybrid buses.
The new vehicles are replacing 1998 models, the oldest vehicles in the SamTrans fleet. The diesel electric hybrid buses will produce 90% fewer emissions than the 1998 buses they are replacing and save $3 million in fuel costs over the next 12 years, according to the agency.