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Hybrid bus makes its way into Belleville

BELLEVILLE - The hybrid Nova Bus waits at the transit nexus. The bus is on loan and will be in town until late December. Photo by Jack Carver [1]

BELLEVILLE – The hybrid Nova Bus waits at the transit nexus. The bus is on loan and will be in town until late December. Photo by Jack Carver

By Jack Carver

BELLEVILLE – A new bus is making its way on to Belleville city streets, but only for a few months.

Belleville Transit is testing a new hybrid bus between late November and late December.

After the delivery date for a normal diesel bus that the city purchased was delayed, the maker, Nova Bus, opted to loan the city one of its hybrid models.

The hybrid has a stop-and-go-style engine.

Every time the bus stops and then starts again the batteries are partially recharged.

Nova Bus claims that the hybrid buses can reduce emissions anywhere between 15 and 30 per cent in good conditions.

Nadine Bernard, media specialist for Nova Bus, says that it isn’t just about consuming less fuel.

“It’s not just saving fuel – it’s reducing emissions and getting (cars) off the road, which some communities really need.”

The model that Nova Bus loaned to Belleville runs around $900,000 to actually purchase it.

The diesel model is about half of that, at $450,000.

Matt Coffee, the general manager of Belleville Transit, says that this is a unique moment to do a trial run with this kind of bus.

“We have an opportunity to do an analysis on it and see how much we get in fuel savings,” Coffee said. “It’s actually quite a bit more money to purchase one of those so there has to be a good trade-off.”

Jeff Bentley, a Belleville resident and bus enthusiast, said he thinks the likelihood of Belleville purchasing a hybrid bus is slim.

Bentley said he appreciates the effort, but doesn’t see the city adopting a large number of hybrids.

“It’s impressive as an enthusiast, but I know as a transit agency that they’re not going to try and keep it because it’s really generic and has a lot of experimental features on it,” he said.

“As a loaner it’s kind of interesting. I do like the idea of hybrid buses, and it’d be nice to see larger fleets adopt the hybrid bus. Until the cost goes down I don’t think you’re going to see 100-per-cent hybrid transit fleets, though.”

Nova has buses in 20 different municipalities across Canada and the U.S. including Belleville.

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