Thanks in part to a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant, Metro Transit has added four hybrid sedans to Moby’s ADA complementary paratransit fleet. These fuel efficient vehicles will be a benefit to both our customers and the environment!
The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) awarded Metro Transit $52,000 for the "Enhanced Paratransit (Moby) Service Using Hybrid Sedans" project. The NET grant, announced April 4, 2013, was one of 134 projects receiving $24,247,260 in grant awards. Of these, 87 were new applications and 47 carry-over projects.
Metro’s NET award served as the local match to a Federal Transit Administration 5307 Urbanized Capital formula grant in the competitive procurement of the four hybrid cars.
Moby’s fleet includes 26 cutaway paratransit vans that can accommodate up to 12-14 passengers including multiple wheelchairs and other assisted mobility devices such as scooters. However, an ever-increasing demand for Moby’s ADA complementary paratransit service had Metro organizing and paying for cab rides to handle the excess demand.
The review of alternatives to meet the increasing demand found research showing the use of smaller vehicles improves the quality of paratransit service as many ambulatory disabled passengers prefer the ease and comfort of sedan/car transportation.
To test these findings, Metro implemented a pilot program using a pool car to ease the increased demand for Moby service. The program proved to be an effective, appreciated, and requested asset.
This project is a part of Metro’s ongoing commitment to protecting the environment by utilizing hybrid technology. The introduction of these hybrid sedans is anticipated to allow Metro to use an estimated 20,00 fewer gallons of gasoline fuel per year, create 200 fewer tons of greenhouse gases annually, and release nearly 90 fewer pounds of pollution per year.
Metro's goals through this innovative project are to incorporate the benefits of modern hybrid technology into our current MOBY fleet, increase efficiencies, and provide environmentally friendly paratransit service while working with local partners to promote air quality in the Omaha area which is close to reaching federal air quality non-attainment status.