Asheville City leaders want to use state transportation funding to begin converting the Asheville Transit System‘s diesel buses into diesel hybrids some time in the next year. Ordering only of five of the new hybrid buses would give Asheville one of the biggest hybrid bus fleets in North Carolina.
The five buses would come at the cost of $3 million. Funds would come from both state and local taxpayer coffers. The purchase will most likely depend on the State of North Carolina giving Asheville $2.7 million in transportation funding.
The hybrids would be an element of a program that would replace Asheville’s 16 older diesel buses, which were purchased in 1996. While the hybrids would cost 30 percent more than standard diesel buses, they would use 25-50% less diesel fuel as well as reduce maintenance costs.
City Councilman Brownie Newman says that fuel savings is one of the major reasons to support the hybrids. Also among the stated reasons are improved air quality and lower noise levels downtown, among other advantages the hybrid buses would provide.