TAMPA HAS NEW HYBRID BUSES-Andrew Stelzer

01/07/05

The city of Tampa unveiled 3 new hybrid electric buses today; the first in the state of Florida to be used for public transportation. Ed Crawford works for HARTLINE, he says the hybrid buses produce up to 90 percent less pollution, and cost 25 percent less in maintenance than regular buses.

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This is the sound generated one foot away from the back of a regular HARTLINE bus

SOUND

And this is the Sound behind a hybrid bus

SOUND

But the real difference is on the inside

SOUND

When the air conditioning comes back on, the noise increases. Julie Peoples works with Allison Transportation, a division of general Motors. She says the obstacle to getting more hybrid buses on the road is that they cost almost a half a million dollars each, at least 150,000 more than a regular bus.

ACT “The buses are 80 percent funded by the feds..so its a difference of are you gonna save the tax payer money, but it’s a balance, but they want to decrease, but save money….its also buy cycles, transit agencies have buy cycles they have to follow those too..�

There are 297 GM-hybrid-equipped buses are operating in about 18 U.S. cities. Lynn Mcgarvey is the conservation chair of the Sierra club, she says the federal government has made funds available for cities to upgrade their public transportation systems, but its been a slow process, to get the auto, and oil industries to shift their mindsets.

ACT “These buses are purchased with fed money, we have to be dependent on fed help. We didn’t ask for them soon and this is the problem m with Tampa and Florida, we have good people, but they’re not allowed to move ahead….….do you know what the oil companies think…..The companies will do what we ask them to do, the question is will we demand it, or…�

The first Hybrid buses will be operating on the number 1, 12, 30 and 32 lines, that’s Florida Avenue, 22nd St, Town and Country, and MLK. Those routes were chosen because they have the most riders. After 3 months, the buses will be switched to different routes so that other citizens can ride the buses. Sharon Dent is the Executive director of HARTLINE. She says the agency waited almost 10 years to purchase energy efficient buses

ACT “Most people are not willing to take the risk..

ACT-dent ‘We went out to bid 4 times, but we weren’t convinced that we were gonna get support from the manufacturers..we weren’t confident that

WMNF also asked Sharon Dent about the accusation by County Commissioner Rhonda Storms that an audit of HARTLINE showed 13 million dollars unaccounted for, and that the Streetcar project is an expensive failure.

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HARTLINE has budgeted to buy 10 or 15 more hybrid buses next year, but Dent says the HARTLINE board wont make a final decision until a few months using these 3 buses. For more information about hybrid electric vehicles log on to hybridcars.com

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