Hybrid buses save Lubbock thousands in fuel costs - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/2/10

Hybrid buses save Lubbock thousands in fuel costs

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - You've probably seen Lubbock's hybrid-electric buses out on the streets.  Today, KCBD finds out just how much they're saving tax payers.

The hybrids went out on the road back in November. Six months later, Citibus General Manager John Wilson says they're saving thousands in fuel costs each month. "We are saving about $3,000, just a little bit more than $3,000 a month in fuel costs for all six of the vehicles. That will average out to over $36,000 a year, just in fuel savings alone on six buses," Wilson said. 

"Just think if we had a whole fleet of hybrid-electric buses what could be done," Wilson added.  

Lubbock is getting another hybrid bus.  Last week, city council approved the purchase of a 35 foot bus.  The ones the city has now are 30 foot, and like those, the new bus will be paid for with federal grant money.

"We're very excited about it; we hope to see fuel savings similar, but probably a little bit less, because it is five feet longer. This is going to be one we could use on Tech as well as regular streets. It gives us more flexibility," Wilson said. 

Another way the hybrid buses save money is on brakes. "When the driver lets off the gas pedal, the bus automatically starts slowing down. You can almost completely stop a bus without ever touching the break. While it's doing this, it's called re-gen, which creates electricity that recharges the batteries. So, then your break life is longer, because the driver only uses the breaks to come to a complete stop when you're probably 2-3 mph," Citibus Director of Maintenance Pat Peters explained. 

What's also unique about the hybrids are the camera systems. They record the road and inside, and get this, they automatically download when they park for the night. That way if something happens, the city has a video record of it.

Citibus also plans to use additional grant money to purchase another 35 foot hybrid. Right now, they hope to give that information to council later on in the summer for approval.

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