Photos courtesy HART.
Florida's Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) new fleet of smoother-riding, cleaner-running 40-foot buses are taking to the streets. The buses began service on March 30, and will replace the agency's aging diesel buses that are ready to be retired. The 22 bus-fleet will be running exclusively on compressed natural gas (CNG), and each bus is estimated to reduce annual fuel costs by $16,022 per year and significantly limit harmful emissions.
RELATED: Fla.'s HART, Red Coach parter for service
The heavy-duty, low-floor buses, part of the agency's continuing commitment to improve air quality in the Tampa Bay area, were built by Hayward, Calif.-based bus manufacturer, Gillig.
"We are committed to clean air technology," said HART CEO Katharine Eagan. "Our continued investment in a clean fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles and proven green technologies has made us an industry leader in the state of Florida."
The vehicles are equipped with modular ergonomic designed seats that provide a larger, more comfortable personal sitting area. They feature disc brakes replacing drum brakes; electric fans replacing hydraulic fans for better cooling and fuel economy; and an innovative safety feature that identifies bus operators merging into traffic from bus bays with a flashing yellow "YIELD" LED light displayed on the rear of the bus. These buses are replacing two current fleets of diesel vehicles that began service in 2001-2002. The full fleet conversion is scheduled for completion in 2025.
Last April, HART introduced a new fleet of 20 CNG HARTPlus paratransit vans and eight HARTFlex vans. The CNG vans are part of an effort to maintain the same level of service at lower costs and according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CNG-powered vans can produce approximately 25 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions (CO²), than similar gasoline and diesel-powered vans.