August 24, 2012

Metro Transit Introduces Next-Generation Hybrid Buses at State Fair

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. – (Aug. 24) – The next generation of hybrid-electric public transit buses was unveiled at the Minnesota State Fair today, earning high marks from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb and transit industry leaders.

The buses have strong Minnesota connections. They were built in the state and will be operated by Metro Transit, Minnesota’s largest transit provider.

Funded by a $1.2 million federal grant, the two new hybrid-electric buses represent a first for the U.S. transit industry. Systems on these buses – including the air compressor, heating and cooling and power steering – are run directly from the hybrid’s powerful battery, resulting in additional fuel savings, reduced emissions and other benefits. The new bus model also can operate in all-electric mode, providing whisper-quiet, emission-free travel for short durations – such as on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.  

“Minnesota has a proud tradition of being on the cutting edge of innovation and implementing new technologies,” Klobuchar said. “These new hybrid buses are a shining example of new ways of doing business that are good for the economy and the environment.” 

Metro Transit first added a hybrid bus to its fleet in 2002 – one of the earliest U.S. transit agencies to do so. Today, the agency operates 97 hybrid-electric buses – about 11 percent of its fleet. Over the past decade, Metro Transit has worked closely with industry partners to assess and optimize the benefits of the technology for public transit service.    

“Strong relationships with industry partners – and a mutual commitment to the ongoing advancement of energy efficient transit – led to discussion about improving hybrid buses by bringing together specific technologies and components,” said Lamb. “The result is here today – the cleanest hybrid buses in the country built right here in Minnesota.” 

The next-generation buses were manufactured by New Flyer at that company’s plant in St. Cloud. Many of the systems and components on the buses were manufactured by companies with a strong presence in Minnesota such as BAE, Thermo King and Cummins. 

After the State Fair, the new buses will operate on routes serving the heart of downtown Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Hybrid buses operate on some the region’s busiest routes and are a key component of Metro Transit’s Go Greener program.

A TIGGER (Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction) grant through the Federal Transit Administration provided 80 percent of the funding for the buses; local sources provided the balance.

Metro Transit is a service of the Metropolitan Council. In 2011, customers boarded Metro Transit buses and trains 81 million times. 

Sen. Amy Klobouchar at the wheel of a Metro Transit hybrid bus

Sen. Amy Klobuchar behind the wheel of Metro 
Transit's newest hybrid bus.

Introducing Metro Transit's newest hybrid bus at the 2012 State Fair

Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb (right) with, from left, Frank Romano of Cummins, Steve Johnson of Thermo King, Tom Webb of BAE, Paul Soubry from New Flyer Industries and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

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(For additional information contact Public Relations Manager John Siqveland at john.siqveland@metrotransit.org or 612-349-7089.)

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