Two new, 35-foot hybrid-electric buses began operation in the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority's service area Thursday. These hybrid-electric models are part of a group of 10 new buses recently received by TARTA.
"These buses not only reduce energy operating costs, but they also will save on maintenance," said James Gee, TARTA's general manager. "Estimates are TARTA should experience a 30 percent saving in miles per gallon with the hybrid-electric buses."
The buses, manufactured by Gillig of Hayward, California, use battery power at lower speeds and switch automatically to the vehicle's biodiesel engine at higher speeds. The buses will be used primarily on TARTA's fixed-line service.
The hybrid electric buses were acquired through the Ohio Department of Transportation's Clean and Green Program from federal funds. This $1.2 million investment by ODOT is part of the overall $40 million 21st Century Transit Partnerships for Ohio's Next Generation Program.
"TARTA is indebted to both the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration for their help in funding the purchase of these buses," Gee said. "We have every reason to believe these buses are the first of many more hybrid-electric buses in the TARTA fleet of the future."
All of TARTA's buses run on a blend of biodiesel, a domestic, renewable fuel. TARTA expects to use more than 1 million gallons of biodiesel in 2013.
TARTA carries nearly 3.5 million passengers annually and provides interconnected, regional service to seven communities in Lucas County, including Toledo, Maumee, Waterville, Ottawa Hills, Sylvania and Spencer and Sylvania townships, as well as Rossford in Wood County.
TARTA can be contacted at 419-243-RIDE or on its website.