Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Pinellas transit buses are cleaner and green

John Gant, manager of the Tampa center for Cummins Southeast Power Inc., shows PSTA mechanics how the new system works.

Special to the Times

John Gant, manager of the Tampa center for Cummins Southeast Power Inc., shows PSTA mechanics how the new system works.

Buses spewing clouds of black smoke will become a less familiar sight in Pinellas County over the next several weeks.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority recently purchased 27 buses with a new exhaust system that promises to reduce particulate emissions more than 90 percent compared to older models.

The new buses will conform to the Environmental Protection Agency's emissions standards for new diesel engines that went into effect in 2007.

The new technology, called Active Diesel Particulate Filters, traps soot and particles in a special filter. As particulates build up on the element, a sensor detects the back pressure, which directs the engine to inject a small amount of fuel into the chamber, incinerating the particles. The DPF system is so clean that exhaust pipes show no buildup of soot, even after several thousand miles of operation, according to a PSTA news release.

Bob Lasher, the PSTA community relations manager, said the new buses replace those already at the end of their 12-year usable life cycle. Federal regulations allow bus replacement after 500,000 miles or 12 years of service, and federal grants will pay for the new vehicles, which cost about $328,000 each.

Lasher said PSTA already has 21 of the new buses on the road and will customize the remaining six for the Suncoast Beach trolley routes. The new trolleys will begin service within the next few weeks.

"Our residents along the beaches should appreciate them since they are quieter than the old trolleys," he said.

Gillig Corp. in Hayward, Calif., manufactures the new buses. Brian MacLeod, a company spokesman, said the new buses significantly reduce pollution, with only a minimal effect on fuel mileage.

"The DPF system may have a slight effect on fuel economy, but I don't think it's even a measurable amount," he said.

PSTA operates 205 vehicles. As the buses age, the transit authority also will replace them with vehicles utilizing the new emission systems.

Lasher said ideally PSTA would retrofit the new technology onto the older buses, but with the transit authority facing a 10 percent budget cut, the money simply isn't there.

"People tend to think government agencies have a lot of pork. We simply didn't have it and now we are cutting to the bone," he said.

Lasher said even with the old exhaust systems, mass transit provides a much more environmentally friendly way to get around.

Utilizing buses creates 95 percent less carbon monoxide and half the carbon dioxide per passenger mile traveled when compared to single passenger vehicles, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

PSTA boasts a ridership of more than 11.7-million passengers per year.

Michael Maharrey can be reached at (727) 893-8779 or mmaharrey@sptimes.com.

By the numbers

11.7-million – passengers per year on PSTA

500,000 – miles logged before federal regulations require buses to be replaced.

$328,000 – cost for each new bus

205 – number of vehicles PSTA operates

90 – percentage by which new buses will reduce emissions



>>AT A GLANCE

By the numbers

11.7-million: Passengers per year on PSTA.

500,000: Miles logged before federal regulations require buses to be replaced.

$328,000: Cost for each new bus.

205: Number of vehicles PSTA operates.

90: Percentage by which new buses will reduce emissions.

New Pinellas transit buses are cleaner and green 03/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 6:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Pete Pride schedule and live blog

    Special Topics

    Here are some events to help you celebrate this year's pride celebration:

    George Michael Tribute Unveiling

  2.   Jake Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.
  3. Rick vs. Rick: St. Petersburg sewage crisis edition

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — For nearly two years, the political stench of a sewage crisis has permeated City Hall.

    Rick vs. Rick are battling to become St. Petersburg mayor. Former mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right.
  4. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  5. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.