Blue Buses Go Green

By Lookout Staff

What can $20 million buy you these days?

If you're the city of Santa Monica it can get you 37 brand new buses.

The City Council is expected to approve the multi-million dollar purchase of the eco-friendly buses at its meeting Tuesday night.

"This is a major step forward in technology for material use, energy efficiency, wear and tear of roads and impact," said Councilman Michael Feinstein, a Green Party member.

According to city staff, the new buses will be sleeker, lighter and more cost effective than those already on the street. The 40 foot buses, which are manufactured by North American Bus Industries, Inc., will also be 7,000 pounds lighter.

The lighter buses equal improved fuel economy and longer brake and tire life. The buses exterior is immune to corrosion, and the special engine will result in reduced emissions. The buses also will come equipped with bike racks, security cameras and voice/visual stop announcement systems.

Fifteen old buses are scheduled to be replaced this fiscal year, with another 22 buses next year and 10 the following year.