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King County Expands Fleet of Hybrid Buses

May 21, 2007


Building on its leadership, King County, Washington announced a new contract for the purchase of up to 500 new buses, most of which will be articulated hybrid buses. The contract is structured similar to those used in the aviation industry and will give King County the flexibility to order different types of buses and components specifically designed for different uses whether it is hybrid-electric, regular diesel-powered or European-style coaches fashioned for future bus rapid transit routes.

The contract between King County, New Flyer Industries, General Motors, and Cummins Engine Company will deliver the first 22 buses in spring 2008 with an additional 100 planned for 2009.  The contract will allow Metro to place multiple bus orders over the next five years to support its Transit Now initiative that expands service up to 20 percent.

This is believed to be the largest contract of its kind. While the cost of the new buses will depend on the types of features and components ultimately selected, the order could be worth as much as $400 million over the life of the contract. The buses will be paid for with a combination of local, state and federal funding sources.

Metro currently owns 214 articulated hybrid buses, the largest such fleet in the nation. A National Renewable Energy Lab study found articulated hybrids provide a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases and are 40 percent more reliable than diesel fueled articulated buses.

The contract is not being disclosed to the public but a briefing document can be downloaded here.

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