Governor Martin O’Malley announced the board of public works approval of $35,314,862 for the purchase of 53 hybrid diesel-electric buses for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The announcement meets the administration’s goal, first outlined in 2008, that the MTA purchase only hybrid diesel-electric-powered buses as older models are retired from service with a stated goal of up to 500 hybrid diesel-electric-powered buses in daily operation by 2014.
As a result of the governor’s directive, the MTA currently operates 215 hybrid diesel electric buses, or 30 percent of the bus fleet. When these 53 buses come online, that figure rises to 40 percent of the bus fleet. The aggressive move toward hybrid buses is consistent with the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative designed to achieve a more sustainable future.
“These new buses reflect a commitment to delivering on our pledge to convert the entire MTA fleet to hybrids,” said Governor O’Malley “They are good for the environment, good for the customer and good for Maryland’s pocketbook by providing better gas mileage and increased reliability.”
The new buses are manufactured by New Flyer of America Inc. In tests comparing hybrid buses to diesel buses, hybrids use 20 percent less fuel and are up to 50 percent quieter. Hybrids have proven to be twice as reliable as diesels, logging 6,200 miles between service calls, compared to every 3,300 miles for diesel models. The new buses feature ergonomic passenger seating, an advanced video surveillance system, wider exit doors, LED lighting, and tip-in windows for improved air circulation and passenger safety.
The first of this latest round of hybrid buses will be on the street in September 2012, with the final bus scheduled for delivery February 2013.
Introduced by Governor O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspire action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.