18 January 2006

A hybrid bus consortium consisting of 11 transit agencies in California, Nevada and New Mexico has awarded a contract to Gillig Corporation for the purchase of up to 157 diesel-electric hybrid buses powered by General Motors’ hybrid propulsion system. The purchase contract is the second largest, after the Seattle contract, since the hybrid diesel-electric system by GM’s Allison Transmission debuted in 2003.

The consortium was formed by San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) with other transit agencies to boost purchasing power and reduce per-vehicle costs through mass ordering. San Joaquin RTD plans on buying 50 hybrid buses, while the remaining 107 buses will be available for other consortium members. Deliveries will begin in mid-2006 and conclude in late 2007.

Joining San Joaquin RTD in the hybrid bus consortium are the following California transit agencies: Benicia Transit, Fairfield/Suisun Transit, Golden Gate Transit, Humboldt Transit Authority, Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), Monterey-Salinas Transit, SamTrans (San Mateo County), and Santa Barbara MTD. Citifare of Reno/Sparks, NV and ABQ RIDE in Albuquerque, NM also joined the consortium.

The California consortium members are purchasing hybrid diesel-electric technology in part to help meet California’s emission requirements for urban buses. Hybrid diesel-electric transit buses deliver better fuel economy than traditional buses, are fitted with particulate filters to reduce PM emissions by up to 90%, and have low operating sound levels. Other benefits include reduced maintenance costs resulting from extended brake, engine oil and transmission oil life, superior torque, and better acceleration.

Currently, there are nearly 380 GM hybrid-equipped buses operating in 29 cities in the USA and Canada, according to GM. For 2006, GM starts the year with an additional 203 hybrid-powered buses scheduled for delivery to six US cities.

Source: GM (press release)