MTA To Convert Baltimore Bus Fleet To Hybrids By 2014

Diesel Buses to Be Phased Out as Governor Directs MTA to Purchase Only Hybrids

BALTIMORE (July 15, 2008) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that he has directed the Maryland Transit Administration to purchase only hybrid-electric powered buses in the future as the agency replaces older diesel powered models that are retired from service. As a result of the directive, up to 500 hybrid-electric powered buses will be in daily operation by 2014.

“Today, we are taking another step forward to create a sustainable environment in Maryland and provide better air quality for our children and future generations,” said Governor O’Malley. “By directing MTA to purchase only hybrids, we will transition to a fleet where the buses that serve the Baltimore region will be cleaner, quieter, more fuel efficient and more reliable.”

The first 30 new hybrid buses will be on the street by early 2009. Governor O’Malley also announced today that a contract to purchase another 100 hybrid buses will go before the Board of Public Works this fall. MTA has requested bids for the balance of the hybrid buses that will be purchased by 2014.

According to the Governor's office, in tests comparing hybrid buses to diesel buses, the hybrids have used 20 percent less fuel and been up to 50 percent quieter. Hybrids have proved to be twice as reliable as diesels with hybrids logging 6,200 miles between service calls compared to every 3,300 miles for diesel models.

During the press conference today, Governor O’Malley outlined other efforts to convert State fleets to cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels.

The Department of General Services recently awarded a new contract to allow 100 percent of MTA’s buses to use biodiesel. Many vehicles in the Maryland Department of Transportation vehicle fleet use biodiesel fuel including: 100% of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s operations fleet and 88% of the State Highway Administration’s vehicles. At the Maryland Aviation Administration, 100% of the shuttle buses use either biodiesel or Compressed Natural Gas.

“Governor O’Malley’s decision sends a clear message that Maryland is serious about protecting our environment,” said Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari. “Transportation must be a full partner in Maryland's effort to improve air quality, protect the Bay and preserve our quality of life. The move toward a hybrid bus fleet demonstrates the MTA embraces that responsibility.”

The State also is striving to increase the number of vehicles using alternative fuels or hybrid technology. Today, 20% of all new vehicle purchases meet the federal alternative fuel standard and a total of 40 vehicles in the State’s fleet are hybrid. The goal is to have 40% of all new vehicle purchases use alternative fuels or hybrid technology by 2010. By 2011, the goal is to have a total of 140 hybrids in the State fleet. Both Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown now use hybrid powered vehicles to travel throughout the state.

Source: Governor Martin O’Malley's Office

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