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Hey, the hybrid buses have hit the streets!

The New Flyer articulated hybrid bus is now on the 99 route!

The New Flyer articulated hybrid bus is now on the 99 route!

The first of our hybrid buses are now on the roads!

Four articulated diesel-electric hybrid buses from New Flyer are now in service on the 99 B-Line route. We’re expecting 39 New Flyer articulated hybrids in total, and they will all be in service by September 2009. (141 hybrids are also coming in from Nova this year!)

The hybrid sticker on the window!

The hybrid sticker on the window!

How can you spot the articulated hybrids? Well, from the outside, the biggest difference is the big grey boxy hump on top of the back section. Regular articulated buses have a tiny little box on their back sections. There’s also a hybrid sticker on the window beside the front door!

And once you step inside the bus, you’ll notice the seats have fancy new vinyl upholstery, just like on the new Mark II SkyTrain cars. David Lam took a picture of the interiors in April: click here to see.

I wrote about the hybrids before and here’s the pluses again: they’ll save 15-20% in fuel consumption, and compared to the older buses, particulate matter levels (the smoke they send out) are reduced by 90-100%. The transmission of the hybrids also provides a smoother ride!

So a big thank you to Leon from our engineering department for passing along the hybrid news! Here’s three more of his photos below.

Hybrid articulated bus!

Hybrid articulated bus!

More hybrid!

More hybrid!

More hybrid!

Even more hybrid!


51 Comments

  • By Nick, July 29, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    Ooo, looks nice! I’m guessing they’re mostly on the 99 B-Line routes, yes?

    Correct me if I’m wrong :P

  • By Dan, July 29, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

    3 hybrids broke down this week on the 135 and that is not a good sign…. hopefully they last…

  • By Sean, July 29, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

    Burnaby uses artics on such routes as the #43, 44, 99, 135, & 145… So you might see those new buses on any of those routes…

  • By Mike, July 29, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

    I rode hybrid articulated busses in Chicago two weeks ago (click my name to see a picture), made by the same company although they look slightly different. They still had the “new bus” smell inside. The thing I like about these hybrids performance-wise is their quick starts from a stopped position. The older articulated busses take forever to rev up, especially when starting up a hill and it always drives me nuts. I was on the 97 once in a articulated bus going up Snake Hill and someone was commenting how slow the bus was. The driver said that the engine is only 4 cylinders and the same one they use on the standard busses lol.

    But back to Chicago, I also like their stop announcing system and digital display inside their busses. The announcer says the stop name loudly, clearly, and in a non-automated way (along with public service announcements between stops). So it doesn’t sound like “*ding* Guildford….WAY!” but more like what the 98 line has “The next stop is Grandville and 41st”… nicely, clearly, and flows well. I’m going to miss it when they discontinue the route in the fall. Any idea to which route they will be deployed to instead? 95 B Line to SFU (replacing the 135)?

    The display inside also shows the current time which I think Translink should do as well when a stop is not being called out, instead of being blank.

  • By Derek Cheung, July 29, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

    While the older New Flyer 40′ standard lowfloors and 60′ artic lowfloors have the “same” engine i.e. the Detroit Diesel Series 50, the artics use a higher horsepower model than the 40′ standard coaches.

    The 40′ standard coaches use an Allison B400R transmission while the 60′ artic coaches use an Allison B500R transmission. “R” in the model name refers to “retarder”, which is an optional feature used to help slow the bus down when braking; saves brake life.

  • By Allan Kuan, July 29, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

    A number of people in a transit forum that I’m in have asked about the rear end equipment… it seems to be more complicated than other DE60LFRs.

  • By Claire Toynbee, July 30, 2009 @ 8:37 am

    How are these hybrids on hills? The #257 articulated buses regularly have trouble getting up to the Upper Levels Highway — yesterday, the hottest day in Vancouver ever, our driver had to pull over twice so’s to let the engine cool down.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 30, 2009 @ 9:23 am

    As far as I know the buses are only on the 99 route right now. I’m certain they’ve tried out the buses on hills though: extensive testing was done when the trial buses were here in April. Let me see if I can find out any more info on that.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 30, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    Claire: I sent your comment over to fleet management, and here’s the reply:

    They should be fine on the hills. Not a superstar by any means– they won’t be rockets, but they should be fine. They shouldn’t have overheating problems, either.

    Claire’s bus from yesterday sounds like it needs a little maintenance–its radiator is probably internally clogged, or a radiator cap is leaking, or it has some other problem with its cooling system. The testing for the cooling systems on these buses is done fully-loaded at max power output in 48-degree temperatures in Arizona, so they should be able to handle yesterday’s heat without any problem.

  • By Lisa, July 30, 2009 @ 10:05 am

    That reduction in particulate emissions sound fantastic – since that’s one of the worst things about diesel buses (that and the noise).

    I really like the suggestion above that the displays show the time when they aren’t displaying a stop name… when the display is blank I always wonder if it’s working/on and then wonder if I need to ask someone to alert me to my stop if I’m on a new route. It’s a minor thing but would be handy.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 30, 2009 @ 10:38 am

    Mike: About those 98 B-Line buses — they’re going to be refurbished and used for Olympic services, and will be used in Surrey for their new 399 express service.

  • By Dan, July 30, 2009 @ 11:50 am

    Jhenifer.

    The Hybrids are overheating more than the regular Low floor flyers. B8122 overheated 4 times along hastings 2 days ago. And its Slow as a slug up the hill. I have yet to go out today but yesterday i saw at least 35 coaches b/o or overheated. Hopefully today wont be as bad.

  • By EricJ, July 30, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

    399? whaat?
    Was there some incredibly awesome announcement I missed at some point?

  • By Steven Rowe, July 30, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

    Do they have air conditioning? Its been totally miserable traveling on Translink services this week.

  • By zack, July 30, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

    Wow they’re already on service? When are the nova hybrids coming and which routes will they operate?

  • By Dan, July 31, 2009 @ 1:33 am

    from many sources including one from a CMBC manager. And made me furious why this decision was made. all new coaches Translink got from 2006 onwards ALL had a/c built in. and once arrived here in vancouver at OTC/BTC, they were all ripped out due to “higher fuel costs and not wanting to maintaining them.” All low floor coaches have very poor air ventilation. The Novas are a complete nightmare. The high floor coaches get the best breeze/ air flow. and don’t overheat as often.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 31, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    EricJ: There’s no official announcement yet, but there’s been a couple of open houses in Surrey on the 399, asking for feedback on the route etc. Check out this post to see the open house details plus some useful links.

    Steven: Sadly, I don’t believe there is air conditioning on these buses — in our bus fleet only the highway coaches have air conditioning. Unfortunately, it’s tough to justify the extra expense to outfit our fleet with air conditioning when super high temperatures happen so rarely in most years. (A/c draws more power from the engine, requiring more fuel to travel the same distance, etc, etc…)

    Just as an aside, too, air conditioning also doesn’t really work on city routes because they stop/start so much—they open the doors frequently and basically nullify the use of the air conditioning (a/c works best when you shut all the windows/doors and isolate the interior space from the outside).

    But as a fellow transit rider myself, I totally feel your pain! It has been sooo hot everywhere this week, and vinyl seats are no joke in these temperatures. I’m just drinking a lot of water and praying for the temperature to go down :|

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 31, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    Zack: The Nova hybrids are regular 40 foot buses and I assume they’ll just be used on routes using those types of buses throughout the system, not any route in particular.

  • By ;-), July 31, 2009 @ 10:26 am

    I always thought air conditioning was an expensive luxury and support ordering buses without them so we can have more buses and go green. Yes just open a few windows and ensure the ceiling hatches are open, it makes a huge difference.

    Jhenifer are there guidelines for the roof hatches? One driver insists on having the ceiling hatches half open to minimize debris from failing into the bus. I disagree with that concern because what can come in from the top (branches, leaves, etc) can enter from a side window as well.

  • By Leon, July 31, 2009 @ 10:50 am

    At least the buses have heat in the winter – that’s something to be happy about.

    I think it’s best to open the roof hatch just half, meaning just the front half. With the angled roof hatch, it really helps to pull air in as the bus moves, rather than just let it pass overhead.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 31, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

    Dan: with regard to your comment about the air conditioning being ripped out of buses, that’s definitely not true. I spoke to our fleet management group and here’s the response:

    None of our buses have air conditioning. Not when ordered, not when leaving the factory, not when they arrived here. It would be a tremendous waste of taxpayer money to have AC installed and then ripped out; we don’t do that. I’m a taxpayer and I don’t like paying any more than I have to.

    The reason we don’t order AC in our buses is because it costs more, it’s expensive to maintain, and it’ll consume significantly more fuel. Fuel is one of our biggest expenses. Also, to make a decision to consume more fuel would go against our policy of reducing greenhouse gases and reducing environmental impacts.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, July 31, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

    ;-): I don’t actually think there are official guidelines for the hatch. I asked the powers that be about it once and the general conclusion seemed to be that it’s just left up to the driver.

  • By Not Quite, August 2, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

    As a long time operator, I am unaware of any guidelines for the operation of the roof hatches. This is one of the many (most) things that is left up to ‘Driver’s Discretion’. Also a an Artic Herder, there is no possible way for me to control the position of the rear or centre hatches.

    As regards the position of the hatches in hot weather, a case can be made for having the front half of the front hatch open and the rear of the rear hatch open (Bernoulli’s Principle).

  • By Derek Cheung, August 2, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

    So why is it then that the BC Transit provincial fleet, including Victoria which has lots of stops and starts and doors opening and closing, can order buses with air conditioning?

    Recently the TTC in Toronto and Seattle King County Metro has ordered all buses with air conditioning.

    If public transport is to be competitive with the private automobile it must be nearly as comfortable as the private automobile.

  • By Snoopy, August 2, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

    I see that some of you are raising a stink over
    A/C and roof hatches on buses! As a passenger I am going to say that Translink is too cheap to put A/C in our buses and yet it is installed on all the Orion highway buses. As with the hatches being open on the non-A/C buses; it is great for them to be open to allow air to circulate properly through-out the bus! If it weren’t for the drivers opening the hatches; we would have hot; stuffy and smelly buses to ride on; not much better than SkyTrain. This how the drivers and passengers have to compromise! So just go with the “flow”.
    I as a regular transit passenger know what it’s like on the bus and I go with the “flow” until my stop!

  • By Corey, August 3, 2009 @ 12:08 am

    I think the problem here is that even Translink’s modern buses have old fashioned engines, which use a lot of fuel. Sure, the new buses use less fuel than the older buses, but there have been engines designed which
    can get 100 miles to the gallon (don’t know what that is in km/l), but the oil companies prevent them from being mass produced. If Translink was to only order trolley and hybrid buses, and require manufacturers to improve fuel economy in their buses by a certain amount, then they could afford to run air conditioning. ALL new buses in the BC Transit fleet come with air conditioning. In Prince George, drivers will usually turn in a bus without working A/C as it becomes a safety hazard in the high heat. Translink will change their policy as soon as a driver or passenger suffers heat stroke on their buses.

  • By Scott, August 3, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

    Considering that in most midsized and large cars the A/C unit is almost insignifant to the amount of fuel burned, why would a diesel powered bus or an electric trolley have an issue with an AC unit?

    I’m not sure why the new trolley’s weren’t ordered with AC these things run on Electricity anyways. Electric powered vehicles are generally much more efficient and cost less to maintain to begin with.

    I think it wouldn’t be hard to justify putting AC on the electric trolleys or the B-line buses . But regular buses really buses don’t get people taking transit anyways.

  • By Corey, August 3, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

    Why is there a weird picture of a woman beside my posting? I didn’t put it there, and considering I”m a guy, I’m not sure I want a woman’s photo beside my write-up.

    Corey

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, August 4, 2009 @ 9:20 am

    Hmmm… it must be because of the email address you entered. Gravatars (the little picture icons) are linked to your comment based on the email address — so maybe somebody actually registered the email you put in.

  • By Ric, May 4, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

    If the highway coaches can have A/C, why can’t other buses be equipped with A/C as well?

    It would be great to have A/C installed on all the buses. Too often the windows on buses can’t be opened because their broken/stuck. I open the hatch up sometimes if the bus is too hot, but I notice that on many buses now especially the community shuttles, it actually says on the hatch “Do Not Open Hatch”. Why is that?

  • By ;-), May 4, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

    I could understand community shuttles having those decals because they are so a high and if you are short, they are hard to reach. Especially if the bus drives into a sudden heavy shower. But I’m also seeing it on regular buses that make it frustrating.

    I have heard from another driver that passengers got hurt once when debris entered the bus via the hatch. Could this be the reason? Debris can enter from side windows as well.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 5, 2010 @ 10:01 am

    Ric: The air conditioning question has been asked on the blog before, and here is the answer from fleet management.

    The reason we don’t order AC in our buses is because it costs more, it’s expensive to maintain, and it’ll consume significantly more fuel. Fuel is one of our biggest expenses. Also, to make a decision to consume more fuel would go against our policy of reducing greenhouse gases and reducing environmental impacts.

    I can’t find the exact wording now, but buses also don’t have air conditioning on frequent stop-start routes because the frequent opening of doors essentially nullifies the air conditioning. You need a closed environment for the air conditioning to gain power.

    I have passed on the question about the hatch for an answer, though.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 5, 2010 @ 10:11 am

    Also, I have just realized that this thread is where these air conditioning questions were answered… please do have a look through the comments and make sure your questions have not been answered already.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    Ric: here is the answer from fleet management and a transit supervisor about the hatch.

    I know the roof vents on the 40′ and 60′ buses are
    intended to be available for ventilation. The ones on the Orions might
    say “do not open” because the air conditioner would have to compete
    against outside air.

    For shuttles: typically, the roof hatches on the shuttles are there for emergencies only. The style of hatch that is used can be opened two ways; One way is to only open it for ventilation (which we do not promote) and the other way is to open it completely for emergency egress. The way in which the hatch is unlatched is very similar for both and would often be confusing for the average passenger. If the hatch is opened for egress by mistake, it is very difficult to ‘relatch’ and close. Most drivers would even have difficulty with this. So if the hatch is opened to the ‘egress’ position, then it would more than likely have to be taken into the repair shop to close.

  • By Ric, May 6, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

    Don’t the 40′, 60′ and community shuttles use the same kind of hatch and if they don’t what is the reason for that?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 25, 2010 @ 11:14 am

    Ric: here is the answer from our fleet management department.

    The 40′ and 60′ buses use the same hatches.

    The shuttles are designed and built for a shorter life, and their roof escape may (or may not) be a different part than the ones in the big buses; I’m not particularly familiar with the equipment on shuttles. Note also that I’ve seen low-profile hatches available for shuttles–I’m not sure if those are the ones we get on our shuttles, but they’d be different from the ones on the big buses.

  • By Noname, June 18, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

    At lease do they have fans on the bus?

  • By Kevin Lam, June 18, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    that is why you buy a car and dont use transit get a good car with A/C. Noob

  • By Greg, October 26, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    Does bus P3287/R3287 has Balios Orange LED destination signs?

  • By Jimmy, October 29, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

    If buses dont have air conditioners then whats the small box on top of every buses

  • By Jimmy, October 29, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    and whats the grill on the back of the C40LF’s(Diesel Version), C40LFR’s and the DE60LFR’s?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 8, 2010 @ 11:55 am

    Jimmy: here’s the answer from fleet management.

    The boxes are heating and ventilation equipment. In response to Jimmy’s other question about the louvers/grilles on the back of some buses: CNG buses aren’t available with a back window due to equipment back there in the way of where a window would otherwise be. Same thing applies for our recently-purchased articulated buses.

  • By Jack, January 6, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    Are all the 2001/2001 D40LF buses retrofitted with Cummins ISL engines or some of it still has Cummins ISC? and 1 more question will the DE40LF’s return to service in the future and also where are the DE40LF’s stored?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 14, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    Jack: here is the answer from fleet management.

    The engine retrofits are all done. We don’t know when the two DE40LFs will return to service; if we start to expand service again, perhaps. They’re currently stored indoors.

  • By Jack, January 28, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

    Why are poles on the newer trolleybuses replaced with yellow poles?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 31, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    Jack: here’s the answer from fleet management.

    Grey poles are replaced with yellow ones when a gray one is broken, because the yellow ones are more visible to drivers. There have been a number of instances where grey poles were broken when a trolley driver tried to pass another trolley bus (trolleys can’t pass trolleys, since they’re on the same wire!)

  • By Jimmy, March 11, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

    Will Tranlink have an Orion VII demostrator bus this month?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, March 14, 2011 @ 8:31 am

    Jimmy: There is an Orion demonstration bus currently on loan to CMBC but I don’t know when it might be out on the streets!

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