CCTA Buses Go Green

Published 01/30 2014 04:46PM

Updated 01/31 2014 09:50AM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - When the wheels on CCTA buses go round, less gas is being used.

"We moved to a low resistance tread, which has really helped our fuel efficiency and we've done that throughout our fleet," Meredith Birkett said. She’s the Director of Service Development.

That alone will save $25,000 each year. New engine cooling systems are being installed on buses as well.

"With the mini-hybrid system we're actually able to more specifically cool the areas of the engine in the bus that need it versus using energy to cool the entire area," Birkett said.

Exterior upgrades are coming to the fleet too. CCTA will use a new waterbourne paint on the outside of its buses. That will cut down on harmful chemical compounds released into the atmosphere. All of these changes are funded through the capital budget.

"When we're going to be making the updates anyway, we make the most green updates we can within our existing budget so we don't have to increase costs to our passengers," she said.

It's not just the CCTA buses being outfitted with green technology. Shelters like this one behind me on Shelburne Road are also being retrofitted with solar panels- that lights the inside, making passengers feel more safe.

One mother and son who ride the bus at least twice a day say, “it's really nice to have the lights. I definitely feel more safe.”

About ninety shelters have the solar panel lighting already, with another dozen planned to get them this year. After that upkeep is minimal.

"On an ongoing basis we'll have to replace batteries every few years, and those should be in the few hundred dollar range per shelter," Birkett said.

Another goal this year: replace exterior lights at CCTA’s Burlington facility with more energy efficient bulbs. Similar upgrades were made to interior lights recently, which cut energy usage by 25 percent in just two months.

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