Thanks to a $303,000 federal and state grant, Summit County’s first hybrid buses should be rolling through downtown Breckenridge by sometime next winter.
“We’re optimistic they will save gas and cut emissions,” said transit director Jim Benkelman, explaining that he eventually plans to have four of the high-tech vehicles operating in his fleet.
The exact timing depends mostly on how and when future grants come through, he said.
The 40-foot hybrid buses cost about $500,000 each compared to about $330,000 for the standard 30-foot all-diesel buses.
“This is the first chance we’ve had to do a grant-funded bus replacment,” Benkelman said, explaining that the transit department was directed some time ago by the town council to look at options for replacing its diesel buses with cleaner vehicles.
“Our intention is to do the right thing for the environment,” he said.
General estimates of fuel saving range from 12 to 28 percent for hybrids versus standard diesel buses, but there is only limited data from high elevation operations, so it’s not clear if Breck’s new buses will reach those benchmarks.