Hybrid buses arrive in Collier County

Collier Area Transit is preparing two hybrid buses. The two hybrid buses are more fuel efficient as the braking system actually recharges the bus while en route. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

Collier Area Transit is preparing two hybrid buses. The two hybrid buses are more fuel efficient as the braking system actually recharges the bus while en route. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

Thirty two people can fit comfortably in the new Hybrid buses from Collier Area Transit. All of the CAT buses are ADA compliant. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

Thirty two people can fit comfortably in the new Hybrid buses from Collier Area Transit. All of the CAT buses are ADA compliant. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

Susan Krauss dispatches CAT bus drivers to their different locations throughout Naples. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

Susan Krauss dispatches CAT bus drivers to their different locations throughout Naples. Photo by Laura Archazki-Pacter

Gentleman, start your engines! But for local Collier Area Transit bus drivers, a specialized training for hybrid buses start first. That’s because Collier Area Transit just took delivery of two of the latest technologically advanced hybrid diesel vehicles. These public buses will be a greener way for local residents to ride for one low fare of $1.50.

Carlos Rivero, the Operations General Manager for Collier Area Transit for the past twelve years, sat down with Collier Citizen to discuss the future of CAT’s two new additions to the fleet. Hybrid buses should be rolling into the streets of Collier County in the next few weeks, and Rivero is ready to oversee every aspect of the transition, training, and scheduling of the hybrids.

“You’ll notice that it is a taller bus, because the battery pack is on top. The vehicle recharges through its braking system. It also has a smaller engine, thus saving on fuel,” Rivero expounds on some of the greener features of the newest hybrid arrivals, designed by the Gillig Corporation, based in California.

And what about noise reduction? That is another factor they took into consideration when designing the final specifications for these hybrids. The noise factor in operation of these buses is about half of the decibels, compared to a conventional bus.

Other benefits to the Gillig hybrid busses are how the hybrids are easily accepted by the maintenance crew when it comes to repairs. When it comes cleaner fuel, these hybrids can operate on a biodiesel blend. Therefore, there is less of a reliance on imported oil.

“They will be rotating though all of the different routes just like the other busses,” said Rivero. Rivero also noted the buses can accommodate up to thirty-two passengers, and all of the busses are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, so wheelchair access is available on each bus.

Residents can also breathe cleaner air as the busses should provide a lower emission of diesel fuel particulates. Oxides of Nitrogen emissions of hybrids are around 30 percent to 40 percent lower than traditional diesel busses. Yet until a measurement analysis is finalized once the busses are operating in Collier County, that figure is an estimate of what emissions potentially could be.

With some minor changes to the paint colors of the schematics on the side of the bus, the CAT hybrids will be humming along soon.

Total cost of the two hybrid buses is $2.1 million dollars funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

If You Want a Ride Check Out:

Collier Area Transit

369-596-7777

www.colliergov.net/cat

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly low cost fares are offered

Pick up bus route information packets at:

8300 Radio Road

Naples, FL 34104

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