CAT to introduce new hybrids

Charlottesville transit contributes to "green city" goal


Charlottesville Area Transit announced this week that it will add new, hybrid buses to its fleet this April.

The project is part the strategic plan called P3 — Plan, Perform, Perfect. The plan was developed in 2008 to allow Charlottesville City Council to better evaluate programs and services and improve transparency and accountability in the organization. The plan outlines a number of goals, one of which is to make Charlottesville “a green city,” CAT Manager John Jones said.

There are currently nine hybrid buses in use in the CAT fleet, and the project is set to be completed in 2025.

“By the time we’re through, we’ll have an investment of roughly $6 million in the entire project … that’s over a 15-year period,” Jones said.

The transition to more hybrid buses will occur gradually. Many current buses will remain in use for a number of years.

“A bus has a 12-year life cycle … so until it’s 12 years old we can’t just get rid of a bus, and we have a number of buses we bought in 2008,” Jones said.

Though the overall investment appears considerable, the new buses will get “30 percent more fuel mileage” and have “regenerative braking [which] saves on brake life,” reducing operating costs, according to Jones.

There will be no change in fares as a result of the initiative. “If we were to [raise fares], that would be a result of other economic conditions,” Jones said.

In addition to a lower carbon footprint, the buses will generate less noise pollution and provide a smoother ride for passengers as a result of the new braking system.

As part of making the city green, many other departments within the city make use of hybrid cars and hybrid SUVs, and in some cases fully electric cars.

Published January 16, 2014 in FP test, News

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