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New Hybrid Buses To Hit The Road

Additions to Duke's fleet spotlight sustainability, efficiency

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Troy Yates applies a sustainability-themed wrap to one of Duke's new articulated buses. The new hybrid-electric vehicles are expected to be in use the week of Nov. 13. Photo by Bryan Roth.

Two new hybrid-electric buses will join Duke's transit fleet, providing the campus community with a fuel-efficient ride and another step toward becoming carbon neutral.

The 62-feet long hybrid buses bend in the middle like an accordion and will carry up to 130 passengers per bus on the C-1 and C-2 bus routes between East and West campuses. The new buses, which are expected to hit the road around Nov. 14, will increase ridership capacity by about 30 passengers for each bus.

Bringing the hybrid buses to Duke is a key part of its Climate Action Plan, which calls for a "green policy" for fleet replacement to reduce fleet emissions by 50 percent by 2050. The hybrid buses use an electric charge to accelerate up to 18 miles per hour and low-sulfur diesel fuel for higher speeds. 

The total cost for Duke's hybrid-electric buses is about $1.8 million.

"The hybrid buses represented an opportunity to address an operational need while supporting our goal to become a climate-neutral campus," said Tallman Trask III, executive vice president. "They also will help promote our sustainability efforts across campus and in the community."

Duke created specialized "wraps" for each hybrid bus that highlight aspects of Duke's environmental efforts: clean energy, sustainable living, alternative transportation and the Duke Campus Farm.

In addition to the hybrid buses, Duke is in the process of ordering eight standard diesel buses as part of updating its transit fleet. The buses will replace models from 1994 that are currently in service. These new buses will be used on a variety of routes and will hold up to 81 riders - 14 more than buses currently in service.

Once all the buses are put into service, the average age of a bus in Duke's fleet will reduce from 11 to 6-years old. Buses that are decommissioned by Duke will be sold for salvage so their parts can be reused.

Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president of administration, said that the addition fits well into Duke's ongoing replacement plan, which will help provide enhanced efficiency for customers and Duke.

"This will dramatically improve the overall profile of our fleet, and we believe it will also reduce our future maintenance costs," he said.