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December 7, 2011 Published in Top Stories, Traffic & Transportation

DASH To Preview New Hybrid Low-Floor Bus And Trolley

Alexandria’s first clean diesel hybrid electric DASH buses have arrived and will be on display for a preview at Alexandria’s City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4 – 6 pm. The hybrid buses also feature a wider body, low floor entry, bike racks, improved mirrors, and wheelchair ramps instead of lifts. The purchase consists of seven 35-foot hybrid buses and three 40-foot hybrid buses. In addition, Alexandria Transit has also purchased five 30-foot hybrid trolleys. The

40 foot buses will operate on the AT8 route, where increases in ridership have led overcrowding on a number of trips. The trolleys will go in to service in April 2012, when DASH will begin operating the King Street Trolley. The DASH buses will operate on environmentally-friendly mix of ultra-low sulfur diesel and electricity.

The benefits of the new DASH hybrid buses are:

  • Reduced air pollutant emissions equals a cleaner environment and fewer public health issues
  • Reduced fuel consumption
  • Reduced maintenance required
  • Average reduction of 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel consumed each year per bus
  • The hybrid low floor design (no steps) makes for easier access, shorter dwell times
  • Design includes a wheelchair ramp instead of a hydraulic lift for better reliability and access
  • Smoother ride, quicker acceleration, increased transmission and brake life, and reduced engine noise
  • Customers will notice a more spacious and accessible interior

The hybrid buses were purchased primarily with Commonwealth of Virginia State Urban Funds. Alexandria Transit also partnered with the City of Alexandria Department Transportation and Environmental Services, Office of Environmental Quality and secured an EPA Stimulus Grant that funds the difference in the cost between the hybrid technology and a conventional diesel powered engine, a difference of approximately $200,000 per bus. The five trolley buses were purchased with American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) Stimulus funds.

The hybrid electric low-floor transit buses are manufactured by the Gillig Corporation of Haywood, California. It uses an Allison parallel hybrid drive system with a small Cummins ISB 5.9 liter clean diesel engine to improve fuel economy, reduce exhaust emissions, and provide a quieter smoother ride over conventional diesel powered buses. Long life, non-hazardous, and maintenance free NiMH batteries capture and store braking energy and advanced solid state controllers manage and blend power sources to optimize performance and efficiency.

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