U receiving 16 new buses

A new fleet of campus buses is coming to the University of Minnesota before the semester is out, including a new hybrid bus, the first of its kind on campus. By Dec. 1, Parking and Transportation Services plans on introducing a new, 16-bus fleet to campus, including a hybrid bus, with features it hopes will be better for students and the environment. The new buses will have a new paint job, and will include an extra door on each bus for more efficient loading and unloading. âÄúThis translates to less idling time at stops, and is better for the environment,âÄù Mary Sienko, spokeswoman for PTS, said. âÄúMost of the pollution from vehicles comes from when they are idling.âÄù The new buses will also have push-button doors, inside and out, Sienko said. This will allow students to enter and exit the bus without having to yell at the bus driver, she said. Stop buttons will also replace pull cords, Sienko said, and will be placed on poles throughout the bus. Other features include large windows, a low-floor design, custom interior design and a cleaner diesel technology that meets 2008 emission standards. Most of the buses are owned by the UniversityâÄôs provider, First Transit . Costs are being covered by that provider, but the University is paying for the hybrid, which was purchased through an agreement with Metro Transit . The hybrid bus will be the first of its kind on campus, and something Sienko said the University wants more of in the future. âÄúIt all depends on whether or not the finances are available,âÄù she said. The hybrid bus cost about $500,000, but through help from a federal transportation grant, the University purchased the bus for about $100,000. PTS is estimating that the new features on the buses will improve loading times by about 30 percent, which will directly impact fuel economy. Better loading times lead to fewer buses on the road in the future, she said. However, Sienko said PTS will wait and make sure the buses are actually improving efficiency before removing any from the fleet. Two of the new buses are already cruising around campus after the transmission went out in several old buses last week. Andyy Montoya, a campus bus driver, said she is very excited to operate the new buses, but admits that she will need to adjust to a new system. âÄúIâÄôm so used to these buses that I could almost operate the doors without looking,âÄù she said. Regardless, Montoya said she has heard good things about the new buses from fellow drivers. Betsy Vose, a marketing sophomore, saw several of the new buses on campus but hasnâÄôt ridden on one yet. âÄúI think a hybrid bus is a really good idea,âÄù Vose said. âÄúWe really need to up our game in terms of the environment here on campus.âÄù