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Technologies Promise Better Fuel Efficiency, Reduced Emissions

NEWARK, NJ, June 11, 2003 – NJ TRANSIT unveiled today the first hybrid electric cruiser bus in the nation and its first hybrid electric transit bus. Hybrid technologies could revolutionize the transit industry with greatly improved fuel efficiency and significantly reduced emissions.

“It’s important to avail ourselves of every opportunity to provide a cleaner, more efficient transportation system to our state’s commuters,” said State Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere. “The hybrid bus is just one example of how we can utilize new and emerging technologies to advance the service levels of public transportation.”

“Our Back to Basics approach includes utilizing new technologies to improve efficiency and serve our customers with state-of-the-art equipment,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “With hybrid electric buses, we hope to find better fuel and financial efficiencies that would further squeeze operating costs.”

With help from a battery pack, the cruiser bus hybrid – made by MCII of Des Plaines, Illinois – uses two electric motors to supplement the output of a smaller diesel engine. The electric motors also serve as alternators to recharge the onboard battery pack as the bus coasts downhill or approaches a stop. The blending of power from the diesel engine and the electric motors allows the diesel engine to operate at its most efficient speeds.

The transit bus hybrid electric system – designed and built by ISE Research of San Diego – allows a 13-ton bus to use the same engine as a 3.5-ton pickup truck. This hybrid uses an electric motor for bus propulsion. Supplemented by the battery pack, a diesel engine-driven generator provides electricity for the motor. The system’s design maximizes fuel economy in the heavy stop-and-go traffic typically experienced on cross-town transit routes. Moreover, the electrically driven air-conditioning system eliminates idling during bus layovers because the air-condition compressor continues to run off a battery and keep the interior comfortable for passengers when the diesel engine is turned off.

As part of the largest modernization program in its history, NJ TRANSIT invested $8.5 million in federal funds for seven hybrid electric buses that include four cruiser buses for intercity routes and three transit buses for use on local routes.

Hybrid electric buses are projected to reduce fuel consumption by 20 to 40 percent compared to conventional diesel buses. Information gathered from the hybrid demonstration project will help the Corporation determine the potential use of this technology in future purchases.

NJ TRANSIT’s historic modernization program, however, encompasses more than the hybrid purchase. The Corporation continues to receive delivery of 1,371 cruiser buses from its record $500 million contract with Motor Coach Industries, Des Plaines, Ill. NJ TRANSIT expects to take the last bus delivery in July. NJ TRANSIT bought 40-foot and 45-foot fully accessible cruiser buses – each equipped with two wheelchair securements and wheelchair lifts – to help address growing ridership and accessibility needs throughout the state. The 40-foot buses include 49 passenger seats while the 45-foot buses are equipped with 57 seats. In total, 1,026 buses will be operated by NJ TRANSIT; 345 buses will be operated by private bus companies offering commuter service in New Jersey.

The buses provide passengers with the latest in customer amenities including ergonomically-designed/S-back reclining passenger seats for added comfort and leg room, a new seating fabric design, modern heating and air conditioning systems with added “package rack evaporators” to quickly cool the bus on hot summer days, light-emitting diode reading lamps, slip-resistant flooring, overhead package racks and a pre-recordable public address system inside and outside the bus that provides customers with key bus service information.

NJ TRANSIT also has awarded a $39.3 million contract to Neoplan USA of Lamar, Co., for 85 articulated buses. The articulated buses – which are 59-feet long and include an “accordion,” or bendable section in the middle – can carry 59 seated passengers and additional standees. The new buses will be used to replace the existing articulated bus fleet.

The new articulated buses have “kneeling” capabilities, are lift equipped and have mobility device securement areas, in full compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The buses will also be equipped with engines that meet or exceed federal emission regulations for 2003. Other amenities include LED-powered destination signs, modern heating and air conditioning systems, comfortable upholstered passenger seating and slip resistant flooring.

With deliveries scheduled to begin this fall, the 85 articulated buses will consist of 49 transit style buses – which are primarily used on local bus routes – and 36 suburban style buses, which are used on longer distance intercity bus routes, mainly in New Jersey and New York.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing Bus, rail and light rail services for 752,600 daily trips on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 161 rail stations, 28 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.