Sound Transit introduces diesel-electric hybrid test bus - a "soap box on wheels"

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"It's new and improved; it will make your air cleaner and brighter." With those words, Sound Transit Board Chair/King County Executive Ron Sims this morning introduced a new - and distinctly painted - diesel-electric hybrid demonstrator bus that will be tested regionally over the next 18 months. The hybrid bus operates on a technology similar to that of some automobiles already on the market.

**The 40-foot bus - painted a bright green and yellow - will be tested by the region's transit agencies over a wide variety of traffic and road conditions. Sound Transit and King County Metro will jointly purchase a fleet of 60-foot hybrids in 2005. King County Metro has successfully operated and tested a 60-foot hybrid this past year. The new buses will operate jointly with Sound Transit's Central Link Light Rail trains in Seattle's downtown transit tunnel.

"Through the latest innovations in combined electric and diesel technologies, this bus uses 30 to 40 percent less fuel and cuts overall air emissions by 90 percent compared to regular diesel buses," said Sims. "From the flats of Port Gardner in Everett to the cliffs of the Tacoma Narrows, these new hybrid buses will give commuters a cleaner, more efficient way to get around."

Sound Transit currently has three basic types of buses in its fleet: compressed natural gas; diesel; and dual-mode buses that use diesel above ground and overhead electric wires in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.