Rockland County Sees Green with Hybrid Electric Transit Buses

Source: County of Rockland

Rockland County has low-floor, hybrid electric buses in their Transport of Rockland (TOR) fleet.  Actually, the County has 16 new hybrid-electric buses. The buses will replace older buses in the TOR fleet and all 16 buses will be in service by the end of this year.

The buses were purchased with Federal Transit Administration (80%), NYS Department of Transportation (10%) and other transportation dollars allocated to Rockland County (10%) at an average cost of approximately $550,000 each. No County tax funds were used to pay for the vehicles.

Vanderhoef and County Transit Administrator Mike Gurski point out the bike rack on the new bus

“Transitioning the TOR fleet to hybrids is just the latest step Rockland County is taking to do its part in reducing emissions and improving our environment,” said Vanderhoef. “Coupled with our bus fleet retrofit project, which will install particulate filters on our existing diesel engines, and our use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel, these are the cleanest and greenest buses on the road in Rockland County.”

“I am also pleased to announce that the County has just ordered four more hybrid buses for TOR, thanks to a $5,547,824 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant awarded to us by the Federal Transit Administration,” said Vanderhoef.

The GILLIG hybrid electric low floor transit buses, manufactured by the Gillig Corporation of Hayward, CA, come already equipped with particulate filters and will also utilize Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel, which Rockland County’s TOR fleet has been using since 2006. In addition, the electric motor incorporated in the new hybrid buses assists the engine, thereby reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions while ensuring a quieter and smoother ride. The hybrid technology also uses a smaller 6.1 liter engine, compared to the 8.4 liter engines on the buses being retired from the TOR fleet.

“In addition to the environmental benefits, transitioning the TOR fleet to hybrids also offers operational advantages,” said Michael Gurski, Transit Administrator. “The hybrid electric technology actually works at its best in the stop-and-go type of operation common to most bus systems. As a result, these new buses are a perfect match for TOR. We look forward to having the entire TOR fleet transitioned to hybrids by 2016.”

The electric motor develops maximum torque at slow speeds and is ideally suited for frequent quick starts. The Allison EP 40 Drive system recaptures normally lost braking energy by converting it into electricity and storing it in the batteries. This “regenerative” braking system ensures the NiMH (nickel metal-hydride) battery packs stored on the bus roof remain charged. The regenerative braking system also provides longer brake lining life, thereby significantly reducing maintenance costs and reducing the volume of parts required to operate the bus.

The hybrids feature contemporary, ergonomically designed passenger seats, LED exterior lamps and auxiliary stop lamps to provide increased road visibility, and a GPS-activated automatic announcement system which provides real-time, onboard passenger information. The ADA-compliant, LED full-color destination sign system provides real-time route information with increased visibility. A 5-camera video surveillance system provides state-of-the-art, onboard passenger and operator security and includes a camera that “looks” out the windshield and is linked to an impact sensor.

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