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Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons

December 04, 2000

New DART buses being built to tighter emissions standards

DART Takes Next Steps in Clean Fuels Fleet Program

In the latest move to update the DART bus fleet, the agency's Board of Directors has ordered 160 new clean fuel buses with state-of-the-art customer amenities and engines that will meet increasingly stringent state and federal emissions standards.

DART will make the purchases over a two-year period. During the first year, DART will purchase 45 buses fueled with liquefied natural gas (LNG) and 45 fueled with clean diesel. In the second year, DART will purchase 70 additional clean diesel buses. The objective of the bus purchase is to replace old buses with new ones that meet increasingly stringent state and federal emissions standards. DART began aggressive moves in 1997 to update its bus fleet, which until recent years had been one of the nation's oldest. The buses being replaced generate roughly five times the emissions of the new buses.

DART has one of the largest clean fuel fleet programs in the country, and introduced LNG buses to the region in 1998. Of the 230 new buses received by DART since 1998, more than half run on liquefied natural gas. DART is an active member of a national consortium aimed at enhancing the performance of LNG in transit. Other participants are from the transit and natural gas industries. DART has invested nearly $27 million over the past five years in natural gas vehicles, operating costs and infrastructure. DART's clean fuel fleet also includes 20 Trolley-Buses and almost 200 light-duty trucks, vans and automobiles operating on compressed natural gas (CNG).

DART is in the first phase of a 10-year program to bring the first zero-emission buses to north Texas. DART's fleet of 95 light rail cars are the only transit vehicles in the region that meet the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standard. In the coming months, DART is scheduled to purchase five buses powered by hybrid-electric engines. Buses with these engines are currently being evaluated by transit agencies in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.

DART also is reviewing other engine technologies, including fuel cells. The agency is investigating the purchase of test models of those buses. By 2007, DART plans to select an engine technology that meets the ZEV standards and begin the purchasing up to 245 buses with that engine type. It takes about two years to purchase, build and test transit buses before putting them into service.

In response to DART's efforts, more and more employers are doing their part to clean the region's air by signing up for the innovative E-Pass program. This program gives employees access to all DART bus and rail services year-round.

DART buses travel over 130 bus routes within a 700-square mile service area in 13 North Texas cities. More than 48 million passenger trips were made on DART's bus system during Fiscal Year 2000. DART also operates a 20-mile light rail system and is a partner with the Fort Worth Transportation Authority in the Trinity Railway Express commuter rail service. More than 11 million customers used the light rail system in FY 2000 and 688,000 rode the Trinity Railway Express.

More travelers are sharing the ride in DART's High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. During FY 2000, more than 33 million commuters used HOV lanes on East RL Thornton, Stemmons, LBJ and I-35E/US 67 Freeways. Plans also are underway for another HOV lane on Central Expressway, north of LBJ Freeway.

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