So I finally got the chance to ride one. Underneath it all is a Gillig chassis. The difference between the hybrid trolleys and the hybrid buses is significant but the underpinning is all the same.
They use the battery pack for several miles and then a smaller diesel engine kicks in to provide electrical power to drive the bus/trolley and to recharge the battery pack. It’s the same methodology used in trains except the trains don’t use a battery pack. Both the bus and trolley use regenerative braking too. When the brake are applied the motor driving the wheels becomes a generator and sends power into the battery pack.
Ok, key differences between the bus and trolley. The bus looks like a double humped camel, a very sleek double humped camel.
The trolley has the typical trolley double shelf on top. But the difference is the LED’s. Both levels on the trolley roof are ringed with LED’s and they look SPECTACULAR at night.
The trolleys obviously have the red/green/gold trim but inside they’re interesting too. The seat frames are off-white, other bases tend toward a tan color and the seat padding is red with white accent. All the poles and fittings are brass and the signal cords are jute.
But the main ‘feature’ is how quiet they are compared to the old trolleys. You can actually hold a conversation without shouting. All you hear is a very low volume rumble of the diesel platform and the whine of the electric motor when the driver accelerate but even those aren’t bad. I liken the whine to that of a power steering pump on the old recirculating ball systems, except a bit throatier and significantly reduced in volume.
Next time I ride one I’ll do an audio recording to let you hear it for yourself.
But the biggest benefit of these hybrid buses is that they get twice the mileage per gallon as a regular bus. This will halve RIPTA’s fuel budget. That will be so good for RIPTA as they can focus on things like expanding service with the money saved.
Now another ding against RIPTA or more accurate LAMAR advertising which is responsible for all the RIPTA bus shelters.
This is the shelter on Washington St. in downtown Providence.
Here is one that really irks me. It’s across Burnside park from RIPTA’s Kennedy Plaza hub.
I’m sending this post to both RIPTA and LAMAR. See if I get a response.