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Federal Grant To Add 8 Bus Hybrids In Pinellas

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) was recently notified that it would receive a $5 million grant to be used to replace eight of the least fuel-efficient buses in its aging fleet.

The grant money is coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and is a part of the Federal Transit Administration’s State of Good Repair program. The PSTA will use the money to replace its oldest buses with hybrid models.

“The hybrids are a citizen favorite because they cut emissions across the board, most by 90 percent,” says Bob Lasher of the PSTA. “The hybrids not only save taxpayers money for operational funding, but cut America’s dependence on foreign oil as well. ”

The old PSTA buses that will be replaced are 13 years old, and the new diesel-hybrid buses are expected to arrive in approximately one year. Once the new buses arrive, one out of every six buses in the 200-bus fleet will be a diesel-electric hybrid. The PSTA, which now serves 41,000 customers daily, plans to eventually have an all hybrid model fleet in the future.

“Fleet replacement is ongoing,” Lasher says. “Should the board of directors continue approving the purchase of hybrids in the years to come, and no other better technology comes along in the meantime, our fleet should be nearly all hybrids by around 2021. ”

In addition to the implementation of diesel-hybrid buses, the PSTA has purchased hybrid sedans for its supervisory and other support vehicles. Other green initiatives include recycling sludge, waste oil and metal from the fleet, using low-flow irrigation systems and reclaimed water, as well as a bus washing facility that recycles and filters water to protect the groundwater supply.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Bob Lasher, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)
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