Pullman Transit received a $1,512,000 grant to help purchase three hybrid buses to add to the department’s fleet.
The grant, which will come from the Federal Transit Administration, will cover 80 percent of the cost of each bus, transit manager Rod Thornton said.
Each hybrid bus will cost $630,000, Thornton said. The buses are expected to arrive mid-2013.
Thornton said three of the 18 buses in Pullman Transit’s fleet will be retired once the buses arrive. The buses will be manufactured by Gillig.
Joe Policarpio, Gillig's vice president of marketing, said Pullman Transit currently uses their low-floor model. The hybrid model has an average improved fuel economy of 25 percent.
Thornton said the department pays $300,000 a year on fuel, and it helps to be able to cut down on that cost in any way possible.
“We’re real thrilled to be able to get this kind of money,” Thornton said. “I made a promise to everyone after I ordered the last buses that we got about a year ago. I made a promise that I’d never order a regular diesel bus again. I’d only order hybrids, so I’m sticking to that promise.”
He said while the money is federal funds, the grant will be managed at the state level, which streamlines the process of posting updates on the project.
“They’re going to do the work by putting it in the federal computer system,” he said. “I appreciate that. With my limited abilities and time, it’s easier for them to do that.”
The state of Washington received $15,249,608 to pay for buses and bus facilities for Fiscal Year 2010, according to the FTA’s website. The state received $477,263,073 dollars for all transit projects, making it the fourth highest paid state in the country.
Parking and Transportation Services is excited about the addition of the buses, director Bridgette Brady said.
“Transit is a widely popular mobility option at WSU, and it will become an even greater service with the addition of hybrid buses,” Brady said.
Senior environmental science major Robi Nilson serves as the ASWSU Chair for the Environmental Task Force. Nilson said she thinks the move toward hybrid buses shows that Pullman is advancing with technology.
“Energy still comes from somewhere,” she said. “It’s good to show support for more efficient transportation.”