Next gen buses will parade down Nicollet Mall today

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 15, 2007 - 11:31 AM

Metro Transit will roll out its new fleet of hybrid-electric and diesel-powered buses with a procession down Nicollet Mall at noon today.

Metro Transit will roll out its new fleet of hybrid-electric and diesel-powered buses with a procession down Nicollet Mall at noon today.

The 19 buses wrapped in green as part of Metro Transit's "Go Green" campaign will be put into service on Monday, and are the first of 150 hybrid-electric buses the company will buy over the next four years, said spokesman Bob Gibbons.

Metro Transit has operated three hybrid-electric buses since 2002, but the arrival of the new buses is part of the company's plan to change out older buses for those that are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, Gibbons said.

In addition, the hybrid buses will allow the bus company to comply with the new Access Minneapolis plan, which starting in 2009 will allow only buses running on alternative-fuel to travel on Nicollet Mall.

Buying hybrid buses isn't cheap. Each costs $556,500 compared with $356,500 for the standard city bus. But Gibbons said 80 percent of the cost is covered by federal dollars and that the environment will be healthier since the new buses reduce emissions by 90 percent and get 22 percent better gas mileage.

And another benefit: "It will be quieter and shoppers, diners and others on Nicollet Mall will be able to breathe easier," Gibbons said.

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