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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Metro to celebrate green initiatives at Cincinnati Earth Day

Earth Day 2009 marked the introduction of six new hybrid buses to Metro's fleet. Since that time the buses have helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide environmentally responsible trip alternatives, save diesel fuel and money for the regional transit authority.

“We are proud of the results that we have seen from the hybrids and the positive response we've received from the community,” said Marilyn Shazor, Metro’s CEO. “Cincinnati has welcomed the hybrids and recognizes the value in our green efforts.”

To date, Metro officials cite that the hybrid buses have cut gas emission by some 190 tons while saving close to 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The savings not only represent an environmental benefit, but a financial one for the transit authority as well.

"In addition to the environmental benefits, the hybrids provide financial savings for Metro," Shazor explained. "In the past year, the hybrids have saved us nearly $22,000 in fuel, and we project continued fuel savings over the life of the hybrids, and the environmental benefits will continue as well."

On Saturday April, 17 Metro will take part in Cincinnati's Earth Day celebration at Sawyer Point by showcasing one of their hybrid buses at a booth where the transit authority will share information on other green initiatives they are overseeing like the new articulated buses that add capacity and increased efficiencies to Metro's fleet, their LEED-certified transit hub in Avondale, use of reused rainwater for bus washing, burning waste oil to heat their garages, and the recycling of motor fluids such as antifreeze, refrigerant and power steering fluid.

Cincinnati Earth Day is free and open to the public and will run from 12pm to 5:30pm at Sawyer Point (map) along the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati. This year's festivities will include hands-on displays, a rock climbing wall, kayak paddle safety pool, ORSANCO's aquarium, baby animals, story telling, an environmental puppet show, a green childrens fashion show, live music, a parade and more.

Metro will also be providing this information and more at another booth to be set up at the Cincinnati Zoo during Zoo's Tunes & Blooms "Go Green" Night on April 24th.

“Overall, Metro’s services significantly reduce car trips and fuel consumption in Greater Cincinnati. A commuter who rides Metro 20 miles round-trip will decrease annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2.4 tons per year,” said Shazor. “As a tax-supported transit system, we are focusing on being green and saving green at the same time.”


Joe said...

Metro is bragging about spending $3,090,000 (6 Hybrids x $515,000 per) to save $22,000 in fuel. ...I don't think this holds up. This strikes me as a very inefficient way to help the enviroment, and is regretable as Metro is simultaneously cuting service for working people.

Randy Simes said...


The hybrid buses that Metro started using last year were purchased with money they received through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.

It is most certainly unfortunate that service is being cut, and that rates also need to go up, but that can be attributed to Metro's lack of a regional funding source and the primary source of their operational funding (Cincinnati earnings tax) being hit extremely hard during this recession.

It is one of those cases of different colored money, but when given the opportunity to replace aging diesel buses with new hybrid buses that save money in terms of operational costs the agency should take it. The ARRA money cost the agency no money directly, and if it didn't go to Metro, it would have gone somewhere else.

Joe said...

True, I can't blame Metro for lobbying for these federal funds. It just would have been much better (and stimulating to the economy) for the city if stimulus money has been allocated for keeping buses running during the downturn.

Randy Simes said...

I agree Joe, and I bet Metro does as well, but the way these funds work is that they need to go towards capital expenditures. Maintain existing operations does not fit that category, but the purchasing of new buses does.

So really what we need to do in order to solve the service issues is find a better operational funding structure for Metro that isn't so reliant on one source of revenue, and one that isn't so varied based on economic conditions.

Joe said...

Agreed. Unfortunately, I think the root problem is that Congress has a significant role in taxing & spending on local transportation, but not necessarily a strong incentive to make sure their spending is rational. So, funding can be subject to the whims of Congressman, who have little investment in or knowldege of Cincinnati transportation. I would like to see a lot of those decisions devolved to local goverment.

Quimbob said...

Metro said the fuel savings would not cover the extra cost of the buses (regardless of who's paying). It's kinda hard to put a dollar value on the reduced emissions, tho.

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