Sunday, November 04, 2007

BUS STORY # 57 (They’re Here)

Mayor Martin Chávez and ABQ RIDE Director Greg Payne are pleased to announce that 58 new fuel-efficient, hybrid buses will be arriving in Albuquerque to replace the aging fleet of diesel buses.

"This is exciting news for Albuquerque," said Mayor Chávez. "These low-floor buses meet all ADA requirements, meaning they have ramps and lifts for wheelchairs. They are quiet and comfortable for our passengers, fuel efficient and healthy for the environment since they are hybrid diesel-electric."

I spotted my first new bus Saturday a week ago going south on Wyoming (the vanguard of the autumn migration, no doubt). It looked sleek and a bit generic. Gone is the distinct ABQ RIDE paint job featured on the 300s and 400s. The thumbnail photo from the city’s website is the best I can do for now.

The new buses are by New Flyer, the same folks who make the articulated buses for the Rapid Ride routes. As near as I can tell from my guidebook (Peterson’s A Field Guide to Western Buses*), this is a DE40LFR (not to be confused with a DE40LFR with a Low Profile Roof, and clearly distinct from the DE40FLA). For most of us, however, this is one of the new 700 series which will be replacing the old 100s and 200s.

I suspect the “DE” at the beginning of “DE40LFR” indicates this is the diesel-electric hybrid – what makes this bus “99 percent emission-free”. I have no idea what the "R" at the end means.

Our hybrid buses offer reduced emissions (compared with standard diesel buses) to meet or exceed local emissions standards. Independent testing has shown reductions in particulate matter, CO2 and NOx emissions of up to 90%. Our hybrid engines are EPA Certified to 2.5 NOx and 0.05 PM, g/BHP-H.

And here are the specs for bus spotters and gearheads everywhere:

The first thing I noted in the specs is that they seat “up to 39” with standing room for “up to 43.” Conspicuously absent are details about the new buses’ ability to adhere to a schedule . . . In all fairness, they should prove to be much more reliable from a performance standpoint. Which means our buses may still be late, but not because they’re collapsed by the side of the road or wheezing back to the garage. Kind of makes me wonder what ABQ RIDE’s new script will be when riders ask, “How come the five-eleven didn’t show at Lomas and Wyoming?”


* There is no such field guide. This is a spoof on Peterson’s A Field Guide to Western Birds. I started the birding-bus spotting conceit back in Bus Story # 54 and just couldn’t help myself. Sorry.


Blogger abqdave said...

I also saw one recently... unfortunately I was in the bus and could only see it. Were you outside? If so, did the Peterson guide mention if the new buses have the same high- pitched chirping (belt whining) that the 300 series buses often have?

8:05 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Wow! Sorry I didn't see this earlier! Great response an earlier comment about "bus calls."

Unfortunately, I was too far away to hear anything other than general traffic noise. I haven't seen (or heard) a new bus since.

7:39 AM  

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