Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

AATA Goes Hybrid

24. October 2007 • Juliew
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From a news release sent by the AATA today:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. –– The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) today began placing into service its first 15 clean, efficient hybrid electric buses with plans to add another five in March 2008 and seven more within the next 18 months.

Over the long term all of its 69 buses will be replaced with hybrid electric buses. AATA is the first public transit operator in the Midwest to state its intention to convert to all hybrid electric buses.

According to AATA board chairman David Nacht, the introduction of these environmentally-friendly buses continues AATA’s tradition of leadership in adopting new technology to improve transit service for its 5.6 million annual riders and the community . . .

The buses are expected to reduce fuel consumption by an average of 30 percent and lower maintenance costs by 30 to 50 percent. For more information, see the AATA hybrid bus web page. Oh, and if you win the contest to name the blue hybrid bug mascot, you win an iPhone.



  1. Hmmm, I suppose naming the bug Monsanto probably wouldn’t win any contests, but when I think of a hybrid bug, it is the first name that comes to my mind.


       —Juliew    Oct. 24 '07 - 09:51PM    #
  2. rode this on route 6 on the way to and from work. my usual 40 minute commute was a LOT smoother than it usually is – the rattling, slamming, banging old buses are pieces of crap compared to the new ones.

    don’t think they’re wasting any old parts, though – i think all the seats were jacked from older buses.


       —eric f    Oct. 25 '07 - 01:00AM    #
  3. Yes, we know that the buses will reduce fuel costs. It’s nice to know that the maintenace costs will also be less. I would like to know what premium we are paying for these benefits versus the purchase price of a conventional diesel bus.

    Is this financially justifiable, or just another way to feel self-righteously green?


       —halflight    Oct. 25 '07 - 04:31AM    #
  4. Why bother entering the contest—they’re just going to name the bug Skyline.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Oct. 25 '07 - 01:50PM    #
  5. An article in the current Ann Arbor Business Review says that the hybrid buses cost $546,000 each, compared with $321,000 for the regular ones. The difference is being made up by a federal grant.

    These hybrid buses are a great idea! Congrats to the AATA!


       —David Cahill    Oct. 25 '07 - 03:49PM    #
  6. Half-a-million+ bucks for a bus. That’s an awful lot of money.


       —Tom Brandt    Oct. 26 '07 - 02:08PM    #
  7. Just what is “financially justifiable” or “an awful lot of money” can be better determined in the context of the long-time, extensive subsidies to road building, oil (primarily for gasoline) extraction and importation, plus the external costs of those activities, along with private auto driving, to public health and otherwise-unaccounted-for negative impacts on our environment.


       —Steve Bean    Oct. 26 '07 - 02:38PM    #
  8. The entire cost of replacing our buses comes from federal funds, it turns out. So this is a freebee.


       —David Cahill    Oct. 26 '07 - 03:38PM    #
  9. “The entire cost of replacing our buses comes from federal funds, it turns out. So this is a freebee.”

    Yeah. Sort of. Expect for the part that federal funds come from us. Although it is a nice way to spread out the payment.


       —me    Oct. 26 '07 - 08:21PM    #
  10. Oops. That should be Except. :)


       —me    Oct. 26 '07 - 08:24PM    #
  11. So the feds spent some transit money, set aside for transit purposes, on hyper efficient hybrids that are made in the USA in large part by GM. This will help to reduce dependence on Mid-East oil, help the trade deficit, help to clean our air and some are complaining? My thanks go out to everyone in the city who made this happen.

    We should be thrilled this money came to A2. Hell of a lot better than having it be part of the billion in cash that simply “went missing” in Iraq a while back.


       —Dustin    Oct. 26 '07 - 09:47PM    #
  12. “My thanks go out to everyone in the city who made this happen.”

    It’s patently obvious that we have some bright, hardworking people working in the trenches, pulling in Fed. Grants both for Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County.

    Grant, after Grant. Year after year.

    It’s really quite remarkable. Hat’s off.


       —todd    Oct. 26 '07 - 10:19PM    #
  13. “My thanks go out to everyone in the city who made this happen.”

    Correction point: this wasn’t a city project…though they were very supportive the entire time.


       —kena    Oct. 28 '07 - 03:04AM    #
  14. I think you can trace the “greening” of AATA right to the mayor’s office. Not one person is still there from the old board. The chair is an old friend of his and he also appointed people like Ely Cooper, who is the city alternative transportation guy and Charles Griffith of the Ecology Center.


       —ted huey    Oct. 29 '07 - 02:38AM    #
  15. There were elements of this already in motion before the last four board members were appointed (it is safe to say that they sped the process up though). There are other people in this city than the mayor who care about environmental issues…


       —kena    Oct. 29 '07 - 12:57PM    #