An influx of 22 new articulated hybrid buses is about to make the ride a little easier for many Metro customers.
Metro put six of the new articulated hybrids into service last week. The remaining hybrid coaches are in the process of being serviced and will be deployed within the next few weeks. Other hybrid buses already in the fleet will be reassigned so that the larger coaches are spread across Metro’s system to help ease overcrowding on some of the busiest routes.
“Metro has many commute-time trips that are regularly operating with packed 40-foot buses,” said King County Executive Ron Sims. “These new 60-foot buses will help us relieve some of the overcrowding on popular routes that are frequently standing-room-only.”
At least 40 weekday trips that are currently overcrowded and operating with standard 40-foot buses will be assigned larger coaches. Once all 22 are in service, the new buses will deliver approximately 90 total weekday trips.
The hybrids are 60 percent larger than Metro’s standard buses, and will relieve an overall shortage of larger buses in Metro’s fleet. The addition brings the total number of hybrid buses in the Metro system to 236 – one of the largest articulated hybrid fleets in North America.
This next generation of hybrids is the result of an partnership first announced by Sims in May 2007 between Metro, New Flyer Industries, General Motors Corporation and Cummins Engine Company.
The hybrid buses achieve better fuel economy compared to regular buses, while delivering a smoother and quieter ride for passengers, Metro officials say. Metro estimates each hybrid bus burns 30 percent less fuel than a conventional coach.