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Clean and quiet: Scottsdale considers electric buses to replace trolley fleet

(City of Phoenix Photo)

PHOENIX — Scottsdale residents may have noticed a sleek silver bus rolling through town lately as the city is evaluating electric buses to replace older vehicles in its trolley fleet.

Dunn Transit, who has operated the trolley service in Scottsdale for more than 25 years, teamed up with BYD Motors, Inc., a maker of electric vehicles, to test out the environmentally-conscious option.

“The region has an air pollution problem that’s been documented, and electric buses could be part of the solution,” Scottsdale Transportation Planning and Transit Operations Manager Madeline Clemann said in a release. “Anything we can do to help with the air pollution problem is a good thing for Scottsdale to contribute to.”

(City of Scottsdale Photo)

(City of Scottsdale Photo)

The upfront cost of the electric buses is about 25 percent higher than the diesel hybrid buses currently used. Uncle Sam pays 80 percent of the cost, and the electric buses are cheaper to run and maintain.

“We use an awful lot of fuel,” Clemann said. “When gas prices were high, our fuel was over $500,000 a year. That cost has dropped with the fuel prices, but we know they’ll go up again.”

The new vehicles Scottsdale is testing are smaller than the current buses — the more narrow shape requires seats to face sideways instead of forward.

A press release on the city’s website said “The city is concerned that the seat arrangement in the smaller electric bus might not be as comfortable as the seats in hybrid buses and is soliciting feedback through an online survey.”

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