Evaluation Report Recommends Keeping Trolleys

Photo by Zargoman

Metro has released the results of their trolley environmental and life-cycle evaluation study, recommending that new trolley buses are purchased. The report concludes that:

  • It is more cost-effective to replace the existing fleet with electric trolley buses based on reasonable federal fixed guideway funding scenarios.
  • The electric trolley bus generates significantly lower GHG emissions and has a lower total annual energy consumption. Seattle City Light generates 98 percent of Seattle’s electricity from non-GHG emittingsources (hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and biomass).
  • The environmental comparison favors the electric trolley bus regarding traffic, noise, air quality/climate change, energy, and environmental justice.

The primary component of the study is the life-cycle cost comparison, which includes cost of the buses, fuel or electricity, bus and overhead maintenance, removal of the trolley overhead system, and construction of new fueling facilities at Atlantic base. This section also included a sensitivity analysis which is helpful when projected costs or income are likely subject to unpredictable variation.

The report unequivocally shows the GHG benefit of the trolley system, which emits 21 times less CO2e (equivalent units) than a diesel system, due to the fact that Seattle City Light gets 98% of its energy from non-GHG emitting sources.

Another interesting section, especially for those of you that have been following, is the section on the auxiliary power units (APU). The study looked at both battery and diesel based APUs, comparing their costs, performance, and impact on operations. The report goes on to recommend a lithium ion battery system that can propel buses 1-mile or more. A system like this would reduce 75% of diesel replacement requests and be more redundant in the case of unplanned interruptions of power or reroutes.




Comments

  1. Bruce says

    This is excellent news. Even more excellently, I shall no longer have to keep shooting down “Metro is trying to kill the trolleys!” conspiracy theorists, because they’ll all read this report and shut up. Right?

  2. says

    [ot]

    Excellent news, BTW. I really hope Metro can coordinate with San Francisco, Vancouver, and any other cities interested in potentially bringing trolleys back to get some scale in the electric trolley market. If manufacturers can get enough order flow, the costs will drop further tilting the balance towards clean and quiet trolleys.

  3. Tim Willis says

    That’s an interesting section about the grades. I had a friend who drives the 10/12 mention that to me the other day and I wondered how he got such exact numbers!

  4. Brent says

    I thought I’d save JB some time:

    “Hydrogen Fuel Cell
    Hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems
    were removed from further evaluation
    because hydrogen fuel is not
    commercially available, it is expensive,
    and it has a reduced travel range and
    reduced reliability”

    • Charles says

      That’s an unfortunate reality but I’d like to see the County make a definitive statement acknowledging the necessity to move away from fossil fuels.

      Today, hydrogen fuel cell systems may not be “ready for prime time” but I’d like to think that a system the size of Metro, perhaps in conjunction with other systems around the country could drive demand. Metro has shown its own innovative hand by simply re-purposing and retooling the Breda’s for as long as they have.

    • says

      Why don’t we just cut to the chase of why they are choosing trolleys:

      An important component of the cost comparison between diesel hybrid and electric trolley bus is the level of the FTA fixed guideway funding. The level of fixed guideway funding would have to drop to 31 percent of current funding levels before the diesel hybrid bus technology would have a cost advantage
      (Exhibit 1-4).

      So basically, because the centralize government favors “guideways” (Wouldn’t want those citizens going where they want to do now, would we) they skew the market. Well, of course the apparatchiks are going to come up every reason under the sun to show that that modality is “the best” and there’s no reason to even consider any other.

      • phil says

        In the conclusions on page 4-16 they state that:
        Diesel fuel price forecasts have the
        greatest influence on life-cycle cost
        results

  5. Brent says

    Per the study, Metro won’t have the replacement trolley fleet until 2015. (I guess that means we’ll still have some lifts for four more years.)

    I’m betting we’ll see more and more hybrids take over trolley runs between now and then, especially during off-peak, when ozone buildup is less of an issue.

    I also question whether 159 trolleys is sufficient. One-for-one replacement presumes no growth in service. I think that’s a bad bet. It also presumes there won’t be more routes trolley-ized. Given that we’ve already identified places where the trolley wire needs to be extended, I think Metro needs to up its buy.

    Plus, it seems that federal matches are going to become harder and harder to come by. Now is the time to be bold and buy for expansion.

    I’m quite impressed with Metro’s ability so far to get federal matches for fleet replacement. Let’s hope they can pull it off again, and be ready to lobby for those matches.

      • Brent says

        Frankly, I think there are too many runs on the 36 as is. I wonder if the capacity needs have been studied since Link opened. Convert the line to all 60-footers, and put it on a schedule. Run the math on POP conversion. Give the 36 lane and signal priority (which I think the neighbors will support there). Drop some peak frequency (when headway is seven minutes or less) in order to add off-peak frequency, and to save runs on other routes. I bet the route could then be run better with fewer buses.

      • says

        “Frankly, I think there are too many runs on the 36 as is.”

        That hasn’t been my experience driving the 36. Of all the routes I drive, the 36 is one that I’m sure to leave the terminal right on time to avoid getting slammed. Granted, that’s during rush hour. Folks who exit at Beacon Hill station to take Link are quickly replaced by other passengers. Replacing 40′ trolleys with 60′ trolleys would help, especially with BRT features and 3 doors, but that’s a whole separate discussion.

      • Bruce says

        The problem with the 36 has been the through-route with the 1, which Metro doesn’t want to run 60′ coaches on, and the shortage of trolley layover space downtown, which has been mitigated somewhat now. The next shakeup will have non-through-routed trips on the 36 with 60′ trolleys, although there will be 60′ diesels too.

        In my experience, the 36 is certainly not underutilized north of the station, even on Sunday nights and other times when Metro’s ridership is at its nadir; not sure about south of there. The only thing in the pipeline which might affect the 36 is the First Hill streetcar, which might relieve the pressure along the Jackson corridor from IDS to Little Saigon. Even then I doubt there will be reason to reduce frequency, especially if the ID/PSq upzone causes new development around there in the next few years.

    • reality based transit says

      I think that if the city of Seattle pays for the wires, Metro would buy more buses. The study shows operating costs aren’t higher, but there is still a capital cost for the wires. The city should consider this for part of the CTAC 3 process for a ballot measure.

      • The Squeaky Wheel says

        One idea worth considering as far as expansion is concerned is bigger buses.
        Problem:
        What is going to happen to the 44 when Link light rail starts dumping passengers off in the unfortunately out of the way university station? It seems like coordinating good connections to buses at that spot will be important and the 44 should see a considerable increase in traffic (not to mention the fact that it is often overloaded already).
        I wonder if it would be conceivable to use bi-articulated trolleybuses on that route to increase capacity without needing more drivers. Check out these guys-
        Hess bi-articulated ‘lightram’
        Van Hool Exquicity

        I believe those sweet matching federal funds require buses to be 50% American made which limits the range vendors dramatically. But who knows, maybe San Francisco’s model of importing Czech components and assembling bodies and finished vehicles in the US can be replicated and improved upon.

      • Bruce says

        Daytime express service from downtown to the Ave aren’t likely to go away completely until North Link enters service, so I suspect a majority of the riders for the Ave and points north will be on those busses. Keep in mind that if the 48 were split in the U-District like the 43/44 are during the day, they overlap between the Ave and UWS. So could be a 60′ coach every four minutes to meet demand from UWS to the Ave.

      • Brent says

        I like those four-door single- and double-articulated trolleys…

        As we move from treating all our buses as front-door-only buses to multiple-door buses with roving fare inspection teams, we’ll be kicking ourselves for not moving to multiple-door buses sooner.

        Did the earmark for state investment in the #44 corridor survive? If so, I think a study on whether immediate movement of the 44 to POP would save the county money would be a good investment. I’m betting there are several routes where converstion to POP would be revenue-positive, but if any route is a good place to start, the 44 is.

        I’m nervous that the county may cut POP as an element of the remaining Rapid[sic]Ride lines. They don’t have a plan yet for how the C/D and E fare payment system will work. The web page says POP was an experiment on the A Line and *may* be carried forward to the other lines.

        A simple cookie-cutter buy of 159 standard trolleys won’t work for the 44. We need to help Metro find good 3- and 4-door trolleys that will work for high-capacity lines like the 44, 7, 36, etc. Indeed, I don’t know if there will be much use at all for 40-foot trolleys.

      • Brent says

        As a frequent visitor to the Ave (which has some good restaurants and other shops), I have this to say to the idea of running express buses from downtown after U-Link opens: Thanks, but no thanks. No, really, please don’t. Just give me frequent buses to UW Station, thank you.

      • Bruce says

        Metro is studying the composition of the replacement trolley fleet for precisely the reasons you describe; it will not be a 1:1 replacement of 40′/60′ coaches.

        New Flyer will happily build E60′s with two, three or (I think) four doors if you pay extra for them. We don’t need to go to the ends of the earth to find three-door coaches.

        The 2S, 3S, 4S and 12 cannot routinely run artics because of all the hill breaks that the coach has to take, which are very hard on the artic joint. Plus a lot of these routes that need 60′ coaches during the day only need 40′ coaches on nights and Sundays.

      • Brent says

        One more spec: While I love the new Link-style slim metal seats on the new hybrids, I would like to see more standing room on the short-route trolleys. More standing room means more passengers can fit, which may mean the 44 could even pay for itself. A lot of time is wasted on the 44 while the driver waits for passengers to find seats. That’s gotta stop.

        Single seats mean more women don’t have to put up with scary men sitting next to them. That should make ECB happy.

        Plus, fare inspectors need room to maneuver, which the current narrow aisles really don’t provide.

        Besides, fewer seats should reduce the price.

      • Brent says

        I was under the impression that the city’s potentional $100 congestion fee was needed mostly to replace the seawall. If it is used, instead on transit, bike, and pedestrian amenities, replacing bridges, and filling potholes, where will the money come from to replace the seawall?

      • says

        Yes, more standing room on the new trolleys!

        I just returned from a trip to Europe, and riding buses there was a breeeze. The main difference, now that I think about it, is that the low-floor section had almost no seats, just occasional one-seaters. It gave the bus a very relaxed, open feel. Totally different environment from a seattle artic with a line of people standing in the aisle. Here it is so difficult to move around, backpacks in everyone’s face. Removing at least one seat from each side in the low floor section revolutionizes the experience of riding a bus.

      • Kyle S. says

        Chad, you get the same effect on trains by turning the seats to face inwards, rather than attempting to give everyone forward- or reverse-facing seats. But people here want nothing to do with it. If it doesn’t replicate the experience of driving a car, it’s not good enough for Seattle!

      • Z says

        There would have to be a change in state law to allow a double articulated trolley, currently Buses (RCW 46.44.030) — Buses may be up to 46 feet in length; however, articulated buses may be as long as 61 feet.

        Not a real showstopper, but something to consider, plus testing one system wide to make sure it will work as well. Triple articulated trolleycaoches are fairly common in europe, atleast 3 or 4 cities have them. Zurich, Luzerne, and Winterthur all come to mind offhand.

        Another thing to consider with triple artics is can Atlantic base service them? You;d have to reconfigure the shops to lift a vehicle of that leingth, and make sure it can get inside the shop building. Plus, coach storage would have to be reconfigured for more tracks to allow for the fact you can store fewer vehicles per track with a longer coach. Nothings a big showstopper (yet) but all things to consider that will make initial implementation that much more expensive.

      • Aleks says

        Don’t forget about snow. When snow hits, all the artics get pulled. Snow plus diesels on Capitol Hill or Queen Anne would be a disaster.

      • Mike says

        Worth reading the article on Hess.
        “Arnulf Schuchmann, an expert consultant, gave a detailed talk on what electric systems cost, with the conclusion that trolleybuses cost 80% of diesel buses to operate but twice the investment. 30 year life costing, which assumes trolleybuses need modernizing after 14 years and replacing after 26 years, gave a total equal to that of diesels without factoring in the environmental and health benefits. All this also assumes high usage, which Arnulf repeatedly stressed. The 25m trolleybus is better economically that an 18m version and, he said, the Solingen trolleybus that had been fitted with a supercapacitor is costing 1.8 euro/km whereas a standard trolleybus costs 2.4 euros/km.”
        It goes on to talk about running the power cables in the street.

    • Mike Orr says

      The task force was only allowed to consider replacing the fleet, not expanding it. But now that it has recommended replacing the fleet, if this is adopted then expansion can be the next step.

      • Lloyd says

        Expansion will hopefully bring the 48 (south of Roosevelt Station) and 8 under the wires at the earliest possible opportunity. Then the 11.

      • Bruce says

        The problem with the splitting the 48 is finding the money to split it and the curb space to lay the 48N over in Montlake.

      • JohnS says

        Seems like the key is getting any purchase agreement written in such a way to allow for additional purchases at the same price at a later date. So you get your 1-to-1 replacement first, then buy more later.

  6. Mark Dublin says

    Thanks for this posting. A couple of points:

    1. Based on experience driving trolleybuses for Metro through two procurements, the 4000-series MAN 60-footers and the Breda tunnel buses, I think ATU Local 587 needs to be involved from the get-go, and given some authority. Team should include drivers, mechanics- and line crews.

    2. The buses are only part of the story. Most of our “overhead” is over 30 years old, and contains elementary mistakes that have never been fixed. The “dead spot” northbound a block up the Counterbalance is worst example, but not only one.

    In addition, there have undoubtedly been many advances in traction power technology, without which our system will never reach peak efficienty.

    3. Remembering past blizzards, I can think of situations where it might be extremely good to be able to use the downtown transit tunnel as an emergency base route for the trolleybus fleet. So with a few years’ lead time, let’s see if we can get off-wire distance of two miles- just in case.

    Mark Dublin

    • Alex says

      Regarding the Counterbalance dead zone – is there any reasonable solution?

      I assume rewiring it would cost quite a bit of money.

      I’m conditioned to expect the “shudder” from the bus as it hits the dead wire, but it really startles people who are not expecting it.

      • Mark Dublin says

        Would appreciate a few words from somebody on the line crew here, which can then be forwarded to the King County Councilmember representing Queen Anne. It shouldn’t be prohibitive to move a substation breaker a block downhill and half a block east.

        Mark Dublin

      • Mark Dublin says

        And while we’re talking about improving trolleybuses- we need to discuss the skill and training necessary to drive them well. A posting is in order from someone driving now- I’ve been away 16 years- because efficient electric bus service can’t be separated from the special knowledge the work requires.

        This is firsthand transit information STB readers need to know. Especially those in elected and administrative offices in charge of trolleybuses.

        There’s a good case that the trolley service ought to be its own division, very much like fixed rail, with similar commitment to a given term of service. I think it takes a year full-time to really learn trolley-driving.

        I’m also firmly convinced that trolley work should get premium pay, for the extra skill required and the heavy loads carried. Officials need to understand that the only reason the trolley system runs as well as it does is that a fair number of people really like driving trolleybuses, and drive them voluntarily.

        But to maximize return on upcoming investment, the new fleet should never be in the hands of anyone forced onto it by low seniority, and looking to flee at the first possible shake-up.

        Mark Dublin

    • says

      Over the last couple of shakeups I’ve noticed a couple of irritating dead spots that have been moved to better locations. I can’t think of them off the top of my head other than to say that I recall being pleasantly surprised.

      I’d agree 100% with everything Mark has brought up. I’d also suggest that we need to think about “Express wire”. It would be similar to layover wire except that it would be a mirror image so the default would be the curb-side wire. When you come up behind a coach that has it’s 4-Way flashers on, is obviously disabled, has it’s wheelchair ramp out, or if you are running an express route, you can switch to the passing wire. In certain spots you could even have 3 sets wires – express, local, and layover, although that may get a bit messy.

      • Bruce says

        One of my longstanding gripes is that drivers don’t use the turnout wire on 3rd and Pike northbound — probably the busiest and most congested trolley stop in Seattle. I’m slightly skeptical whether drivers would use more bypass or express wire if they’re not using what’s already there.

      • Mike says

        The biggest reason drivers don’t use the curbside wire on 3rd is not the drivers fault. Wheelchair riders don’t let the driver know their getting off in time to activate the switch. I finally started asking all the lift patrons where they were planning to get off so I could set up for it properly.
        PS: Mark and Velo. Top going over a month working doubles, on most routes, and never losing your poles. Ha ha. :)

      • says

        I ask wheelchair users where they are going but some don’t like to say and others are vague. My express wire idea helps since once you know the wheelchair is getting off you put on the 4-way flashers which signals to buses behind you to use the express wire. A bus or even two might get caught on the inside wire but usually there is enough space to make the switch – if the default wire was on the inside.

        That said, I’m willing to admit that some of my brilliant ideas aren’t so brilliant so I’m wondering if anybody else, particularly other trolley drivers or wire crew folks, can shoot holes in this idea. It seems like a “no brainer” to me but maybe there is something I’m not thinking of??

  7. Mark Dublin says

    Problem with the 44 and other heavy service through the U-District has a lot less to do with bus length than with lack of reserved right-of-way. A double-articulated trolleybus stuck in traffic is just one more very long stopped automobile.

    Eventually, corridor between U-District and Ballard will carry light-rail caliber loads. It’d be good if we could build a basement level into the Brooklyn & 45th Street station to be plugged into an east-west subway when it finally arrives.

    But rail or bus, Route 44 needs full-priority lanes from Stone Way east, at least at rush hour- which is just about a hundred percent City of Seattle politics. If the Mayor is as serious about transit as he is about bicycles, time for transit to get the same official respect.

    Mark Dublin

    • Kyle S. says

      At the Brooklyn Station open house, it was mentioned that if an east-west line were to be constructed to Brooklyn Station, it would essentially require its own station box. Remember that there’s a big tower immediately (like, 5 feet) west of the planned station box.

      But since that’s decades off, I concur 100% that we need as much dedicated ROW as possible for the #44 right now.

  8. Jamison Wieser says

    I didn’t see the report touch on the availability of vehicles and parts.

    Here in San Francisco or trolley-busses have been problematic because of the availability of parts and manufacturers moving away from trolley bus technology in favor of diesel-electric hybrid. Only 5 cities in the US use trolley bus technology so the manufactures of our busses got out of the business entirely in favor of diesel-electric hybrid technology leaving us in a spot of trouble when it comes to replacement parts, both in the delays that can cause and because it drives prices up. Even if the parts suppliers weren’t charging more because they have a captive market, there’s just more cost to manufacturing small runs of parts for this very tiny market of oddball vehicles.

    Because of the supply issues the average length it takes to return a trolley-bus to service is something like twice the time it takes anything else but our historic vehicles. And that means a lot of digging into the reserve fleet and running our oldest, least reliable and heaviest polluting diesel busses. That means more wear and tear on what are already our most maintenance-intensive vehicles. And because it’s a different technology, the maintenance crew that specializes in electric motors can’t easily be redeployed to help the mechanics skilled with diesel engines who now have an even heavier workload.

    And back it being a small market, that means a really limited choice in manufactures, less competition to drive prices down and just less innovation in the technology. Think about it, how much money would you invest in a technology if you knew you only had 5 potential customers and all of them were considering switching to diesel-electric hybrid.

    It is realistic in 10-15 years there could be only 2-3 cities in left in North America with trolley busses.

    I think it would be wise to consider the environmental, operation and maintenance costs and impacts if parts supplies were extremely constrained and realistically look at how big a reserve fleet you will need and how often you will have to dip into your diesel or diesel-electric reserve fleet before making a final decision.

    • Bruce says

      “I didn’t see the report touch on the availability of vehicles and parts.”

      You didn’t read it very well then.

      • Bruce says

        Page 2-5. SF Muni and dayton mention parts issues. Appendix B describes the numerous questions about maintenance that each agency was asked. Although the bullet points in the table on 2-5 are brief, it’s obvious that the polled agencies were questioned in sufficient depth to expose glaring problems with procurement or operations.

    • Bernie says

      I would hope that now we are buying series hybrids that the same traction motor and drive system would be in the ETBs. That means parts should be readily available, interchangeable and the mechanics only specialty is either the diesel APU or the overhead pick-up.

      • says

        I’ve often wondered what it would take to add current collectors to one of the Orions. Maybe not for this first generation of coach but put a bug in the ear of Orion’s engineers and maybe, just maybe, they could have an add-on package for their Hybrid to turn it into an ETB. If the diesel motor was optional, maybe that space could be used for extra battery range?

    • Z says

      San Franciso’s historically cannibalized coaches. In their case, the coahces are not manufactured anymore and i’m not sure if Skoda has a US parts warehouse, or how much of the coach is US standard componets. With Vancouver’s Newflyers, Pretty much all body, Brake, and suspension componets should be standard parts, with local availability through NewFlyer. They may even be able to provide Propulsion parts as well, although if not than it would be worthwhile to keep extras in the parts room above what’s normally carried incase of a disruption in supplies from europe.

    • says

      All the more reason for Metro’s procurement folks to spend a lot of time discussing this purchase with counterparts in Vancouver, San Francisco, and any other potential trolley customers. The more purchasing power behind a standard set of coaches & parts, the better.

  9. Jamison Wieser says

    Bruce, you are of course much closer to your transit system, I didn’t read it with the same eyes as someone with more background, just the details of our difficulties I’m familiar with. I called out parts, reliability, and manufacturers getting out the of the business specifically because I didn’t think that was enough detail.

    If I can restate I’d like to say the document doesn’t touch on SFMTA’s operating challenges in “enough detail”. In the table, parts and availability to nothing more than bullet points, with the four cons outweighed by the 6 pros like “public support”.

    • Bruce says

      Admittedly, I know more because I spoke to the consultants who did the study at the public meetings, and yes, they went in to lots of depth with the agencies they interviewed. Many of the issues you raise seem likely to be confined to Muni.

      For example, if we buy New Flyers — not certain, but the most obvious option — the only unique part will be the propulsion system. If someone does a trolley conversion on the Orions, the same would apply. CMBC hasn’t reported reliability problems anything like as bad as you say Muni has had with Skodas.

      Another thing: our oldest, smokiest busses (non-hybrid Gillig Phantoms) are being replaced by Orion serial hybrids, and they are almost certainly what will be used as substitutes in a trolley breakdown (Gilligs are used today). I don’t see how a system that, on most of the core urban routes, runs trolleys 90% of the time and serial hybrids 10% of the came can come out worse environmentally than a system that runs serial hybrids 100% of the time.

      It’s true that parts aren’t as ubiquitous and there’s a slightly elevated economic risk there, but it seems to me to be vastly less than the gut-wrenching gyrations of the price of diesel we’ve seen over the last four years, which we’re partly avoiding by using trolleys.

      Even if parts end up costing more, given that Metro’s techs, working with our current jury-rigged broke-down old trolley fleet, have kept all but one of the trolley routes in the city fully electrified for at least five days a week for years gives me great confidence in their ability to keep trolleys on the road.

  10. SR Das says

    I like the good news. The trolleys are here to stay! While we’re on the subject of trolley buses, I have one good way to improve the system:

    Install more passing wires–at ALL downtown stops and all major stops (ie, major transfer points) to prevent having trolleys delayed by other trolleys which board wheelchairs. Even with low-floor buses and ramps instead of lifts, a wheelchair boarding can delay a bus by up to 2 minutes–trust me, I timed a wheelchair boarding on a DE60LF on route 22 with a stopwatch app on my phone.

  11. Mark Dublin says

    1. Mike, congratulations on dewire-free month. However, if a driver never “loses poles”, how are they going to know what to do if the right-hand rope wraps itself around a sign-pole on the way down, and the retriever snaps it tight?

    But come to think of it, present mechanism probably doesn’t do that anymore, like the old spring-loaded Earls and Delaschaux used to. “The Book” probably doesn’t even allow drivers to carry pocket-knives anymore to cut ropes loose from a jammed retriever so the driver can tie the cut rope to the other rope and stay in service.

    Always thought there should be a trolleybus rodeo every year, especially an international one. It’d be great to compete against rough and ready systems like Odessa and Simferopol in Ukraine, and cities in Russia and Bulgaria. The Russians used to couple 40′ Skoda trolleybuses together with controls wired through the drawbar.

    2. The United States of America needs electric transit vehicle independence- call it a defense expenditure. At least give us a Federal research and development program, to get our industries into the business of building them. It’d be really good if Mr. Obama chaired it- so we could legitimately call it the PCC, for President’s Conference Committee.

    Mark Dublin

    • Mike says

      What killed record run was being assigned a Franken-Breda on the 44. I think I lost my poles 3 times on one outbound trip. (broken shoe).
      And I think carrying a knife now is considered a major offense (concealed weapon), right up there with cell phone violations.
      I’m glad I’m retired.
      And what’s up with the Swiss? How come all the new innovation has to come out of a couple of European countries? Must be something in the water.

      • says

        “And what’s up with the Swiss? How come all the new innovation has to come out of a couple of European countries? Must be something in the water.”

        Switzerland, and to some extent Germany, have to concentrate on innovation and higher quality products given their expensive labor and soaring currency (in the case of Switzerland at least).

      • Bernie says

        It’s the chocolate. That and the fact virtually the entire country is in the Alps and instead of spending money on a huge military budget they’re assured security by holding everyone else’s securities.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says

        In places that have non-GHG energy, France or here for example, the pollution and GHG advantage of electric propulsion is a big advantage, and trolly buses are the only way to tap into that for bus systems.

  12. AA says

    Found this good read on Trolleys vs Trams:

    http://www.lrta.info/tramforward/TAUT%20Sept%20338%20tram%20v%20trolleybus.pdf

    Thought it might be interesting for others too. For example:

    The University of California found that
    even with low-grade coal producing large amounts of CO2
    (as used in Germany) electric traction almost completely
    eliminates carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Diesel
    engines are only 40% efficient at best and if you include
    idling and part loads, this plummets to below 30%. Engines
    powered by other fossil fuels achieve even lower figures
    – and all the pollution hits the street.

  13. Transit Voter says

    In addition to re-evaluating the fleet mix, 40′ and 60′, Metro also needs to re-examine all through-route combinations. The 1/36 obviously needs fixing, so the 36 can run entirely w/60-ft. trolleybuses. I’m sure the 1 can be through-routed with something else on Capitol Hill or wherever, so it stops handicapping the 36.

    The existing through-route scheme dates back to 1977 and a lot has changed in the last 34 years.

    • Bruce says

      Metro’s planners have some excellent ideas about that. Cross your fingers that they get to try some of them next year.

  14. eddiew says

    the study results were good. please do not county your electric trolleybuses before they are hatched. still need five votes on the KC Council on the fleet acquisition to be propoosed by the Executive.

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