Public transportation is at the core of efforts to “Go Green” – and SEPTA is helping lead the way with an aggressive effort to add cleaner-burning, fuel-efficient hybrid buses to its fleet.
To celebrate this progress, SEPTA officials, including General Manager Joseph M. Casey and Board Chairman Pat Deon, gathered with federal officials and an executive from hybrid bus manufacturer New Flyer of America, Inc. on Monday at the Midvale Depot – the place many of SEPTA’s hybrids call home.
“Public transportation has long been the most environmentally friendly way to get around, and it’s only getting greener with more hybrid buses on the road,” Casey said. “SEPTA is proud to be an industry leader in providing cleaner, more fuel efficient modes of travel by bringing more hybrids into its fleet.”
SEPTA currently has 252 diesel-electric hybrids quietly winding through Philadelphia area streets, and has plans to add hundreds more in the coming years. By 2010 alone, more than a quarter of SEPTA’s overall bus fleet of approximately 1,450 will consist of hybrids.
Among the newest additions are 40 hybrids being purchased with $17.8 million in federal grants under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009. These will be delivered to SEPTA through next year by New Flyer.
“These new hybrid buses are another shining example of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at work in the Philadelphia area,” said U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania. “Not only will they improve transportation within SEPTA, but they will help make the entire system more energy efficient and set an example of successful green technologies.”
Joining Sen. Casey at Monday’s event at the Midvale Depot were two other members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak. They all praised SEPTA’s continued efforts to “Go Green.”
The 40 buses being purchased under the ARRA bolster an already robust and growing number of hybrids in the transit authority’s fleet. SEPTA is purchasing over 400 additional hybrids from New Flyer through 2011 under a four-year deal with the Minnesota-based company.
By the time all of these buses are delivered and put into service, approximately one of every three buses operating on SEPTA routes in the region will be powered by fuel-efficient, diesel-electric hybrid engines.
The hybrid buses are powered by an advanced parallel hybrid-electric power train using an electric battery system and traditional diesel power. The electrical and diesel systems work together to conserve energy during various functions, including starts and braking. By using the conserved energy to recharge the battery, the bus uses less fuel and the power train is designed to significantly reduce various fuel monoxide emissions by 80 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions by 38 percent. emissions.
Hybrid buses are up to 29 percent more fuel efficient than traditional diesel buses, and can reduce carbon They are also quieter-running, reducing noise pollution.
With one of the nation’s largest hybrid bus fleets, SEPTA is becoming an attractive destination for those interested in the growing field of so-called “green careers.” In fact, SEPTA is prominently featured in an educational series about green careers, which can been viewed at http://vimeo.com/6840823.