July 14, 2011

RIPTA debuts hybrid trolleys

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) received two new classic hybrid diesel trolleys manufactured by Gillig LLC, in partnership with Cable Car Classics.

The new trolleys are powered by clean diesel hybrid electrical propulsion systems that reduce emissions, save fuel and are smoother and quieter than conventional buses.

Nearby states are already seeing results from switching over to hybrid buses. Results in the Connecticut Department of Transportation Hybrid Bus Testing Project Report showed that “the hybrid buses demonstrated about 10 percent improved fuel economy compared to the base clean-diesel buses. The buses were popular among passengers and operators, who cited their quiet vibration-free ride.”

The red and gold trolleys, which each seat approximately 32 passengers, will replace traditional diesel buses. Each trolley costs $696,959.50. Federal Transit Administration grants funded the base cost of the trolley, while the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act covered the incremental cost of the hybrid propulsion system. A 20 percent local match was provided by State General Obligation Bonds.

The new trolleys are part of RIPTA’s normal fleet replacement plan to maintain their fleet in top condition; these represent two of ten purchased in 2010. Replacement of CNG trolleys and diesel buses to a hybrid system will yield approximately a 20 percent savings on fuel for RIPTA.

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