Office of Sustainability Newsroom

TARC Adds More Air-Friendly Hybrid Buses

Friday July 9, 2010

TARC’s fleet of environmentally-friendly buses is increasing to 21 with the arrival of nine new Gillig hybrid-electric buses. Seven of them were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and two from a variety of federal and state sources. The hybrids are silver with a new butterfly design that complements the silver bus design that was introduced last year.

Mayor Jerry Abramson, along with U.S. Representative John Yarmuth, Kentucky Transportation Service Delivery Director Vickie Bourne and TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker unveiled the new buses today at TARC's Union Station facility.

The buses cost $558,000 apiece and are better for the environment, more fuel efficient, easier to maintain and smoother to ride than TARC older diesel-fueled buses.

These hybrid buses are a total win for the entire community since they produce less pollution, cost less to run and provide a smoother, quieter ride,” Abramson said.

“Not only will these hybrid buses help Louisvillians breathe easier by reducing pollution, but they’ll help save money,” said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3). “With lower maintenance costs and lower fuel consumption that will save 3,000 gallons per year, per bus, TARC will have more resources to create jobs and grow their services.”

The hybrid-electric technology uses electric power in combination with a diesel-powered engine. It brings many benefits, as follows:

Improving air quality

Emissions Reduced:

Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) – 61% less

Particulate Matter (PM) – 93% less

Carbon Monoxide (CO) – 90% less

Hydrocarbons (HC) – 21% less

Reducing energy consumption

Better fuel economy with an annual savings of 3,000 gallons per bus


High Mechanical performance

Fewer brake repairs necessary

Sixteen times fewer transmission fluid changes required

No major mechanical errors

The TARC hybrids are manufactured by Gillig Corp. in Hayward, California. The propulsion system is manufactured by Allison Transmission GM, of Indianapolis.

The buses are 40 feet long and have low-floor access. The hybrid's diesel engine is smaller. A regular diesel bus emits the most pollution when it accelerates from a stop or goes up hill. The hybrid bus uses electric power from its batteries to accelerate, drastically reducing emissions and eliminating tailpipe smoke in these situations. With less demand on the diesel engine, the hybrid buses are much quieter. This innovative bus also accelerates and goes up hills without revving the engine.

Hybrid buses also cost less to maintain, due to brakes that last twice as long, thanks to regenerative braking and no transmission to maintain.