2 hybrid buses, 2 Handi-Vans join fleet
The city showed off its latest additions to its bus fleet yesterday: two more hybrid diesel-electric buses and two new Handi-Vans.
"Why I'm happy today is that we're keeping a good thing going," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said. "We have the excellent reputation of having the best system in America, and we want to continue to enhance that reputation."
By Oct. 2 the city plans to deploy its new fleet of 40 diesel-electric hybrid buses on the following routes:
» No. 5 Manoa Valley
» No. 6 Pauoa-Woodlawn
» No. 7 Kalihi Valley
» No. 9 Palolo Valley
» No. 17 Makiki
» No. 18 University-Ala Moana
» No. 31 Tripler-Moanalua
» No. 32 Kalihi-Pearlridge
TheBus now has 40 hybrid buses, each with a price tag of $485,000.
"From the sleek new smiling front of the bus to the hybrid electric controls in the back, this is not your father's bus," said Roger Morton, president of Oahu Transit Services, the company that operates the bus for the city.
City and bus officials said the buses are environmentally friendly, are more comfortable for passengers and have greater accessibility.
"The bus has no steps and is only 11 inches from the ground for easier boarding," Morton said. "We've added new contoured seats with padding and more hip-to-knee room. We've also increased the interior circulation and lowered the window line for our many shorter passengers. And we think our passengers will appreciate the ride quality in this new bus."
The buses are also "smart," with computers controlling engines, the destination signs, the fare box and radios, Morton said. "And through (the global positioning system) in our buses, the dispatchers and our buses themselves know exactly where they are. These buses announce the next stop automatically."
He said the hybrid technology will allow the city to save at least 20 percent of the 7 million gallons of fuel the buses use per year.
"What we like about the electric hybrid buses, obviously, is that it's going to be much more environmentally friendly," the mayor said.
The previous batch of hybrid buses purchased by the city could not climb hills. The buses could not be used in Windward Oahu because they could not go over the Koolau Mountains.
Morton said these buses can travel uphill but that they will be used primarily in town in congested areas where the buses stop frequently.
"You're at your maximum savings with this bus if it's stop and go," Morton said.
The next group of new buses will probably be diesel buses for the rural routes, Morton said.
The city has also ordered 32 paratransit vans at a price tag of nearly $96,935 each for a total of $3.1 million. The new vans have five wheelchair positions or room for up to 10 ambulatory passengers.
The federal government picked up 80 percent of the cost of the 40 hybrid buses and 32 vans, and the city paid for the rest.