ALBANY The first of six new 31-passenger transit buses, complete with a new color scheme, rolled into the Albany Transit Center on Friday, officials said.
The buses come as some of the city's oldest transit vehicles are eclipsing the 11-year mark with more than 300,000 miles.
"These buses are something that our patrons have been asking for a long time, something our employees have been asking for a long time and something that we've needed to replace our older buses with," Interim Albany Transit Director David Hamilton said. "I'm excited to be here to watch them come in to the fleet."
The new Daimler Orion VII clean-diesel transit buses will cost a total of $2 million, the majority of which is being paid for by federal stimulus dollars and by the state of Georgia. Roughly 10 percent is being paid by the Albany city Commission from local tax dollars, Hamilton said.
While the buses do run off of traditional diesel fuel, they also incorporate a fuel additive that boosts fuel mileage and lowers the vehicle's emissions, making them much more "green" than their predecessors.
According to a statement from Daimler, the buses contain new technology that scrubs the exhaust emitted from the vehicles, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions to nearly zero and exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency's 2010 emissions' standards.
A report available on Daimler's website says that research and testing of the vehicles has shown them to last beyond the 500,000-mile mark.
The buses also have the ability to "kneel" closer to the ground and deploy more sturdy ramps to allow those with special needs to board more easily.
Of the six that the city has ordered, three of the buses will be of the model that is 35 feet long — five feet longer than current city buses — and three will be 30-feet long.
"We're glad to be able to get these buses out on the street because there has been a need," Hamilton said. "We're hoping to get 10 to 12 years out these buses as well."