DART's current 224 fixed route bus fleet includes 78 buses that are only 2 years old or less. The average age of DART's over 300 cutaway buses, used for paratransit-demand response service, is only 3 years old!
DART Provides Riders with a GREENER and NEWER Bus Fleet Resulting in More Reliability, Reduced Maintenance and Fuel Costs, and Less Harmful Exhaust Emissions
Providing our riders with newer, more reliable, and more environmental friendly buses is a number one priority with DART First State. Over the years DART has been investing in buses that use ultra low sulfur diesel fuel to meet EPA emission guidelines and reduce harmful oxides of nitrogen and particular matter emissions. DART's statewide fleet has 224 out of 400 buses that use ultra low sulfur fuel.
The hybrid buses operate in its electric mode at speeds up to 25 mph. The diesel engine will then provide power solely or in combination with the electric motor as needed.
It is estimated that the hybrid electric buses can increase fuel economy by as much as 60%, reduce particulates, hydrocarbon and carbon emissions by up to 90%, as well as releasing 60% fewer oxides of nitrogen than older diesel vehicles. The hybrid electric technology on DART buses consists of a highly efficient diesel engine, running on super low-sulphur fuel, in combination with an Allison electric drive transmission system. Due to the smaller diesel motor and the use of an electric motor, hybrid buses are quieter than standard transit vehicles. The additional weight of the battery pack and additional cooling unit provides a more comfortable ride.
Well ahead of other transit agencies, DART began implementing the EPA mandates requiring ultra low sulfur fuel in all of our buses at the end of 2005. All of DART’s new buses reduce emissions in the engine cylinders by making use of an advanced EGR (Engine Gas Reduction) system and the latest clean exhaust technologies. DART’s most recent additions to its bus fleet are among the cleanest and greenest vehicles, per passenger miles, on the road. The fluted exhaust outlet makes them very easy to identify.
Through these investments, DART is maintaining a newer fleet of vehicles, thereby providing more dependable service. Of DART’s 224 Fixed Route buses, almost half are two years of age or less. The average age of DART’s 303 Paratransit vehicles, is only three years.
In 2009 DART First State Garnered Solar Panel Grant to Continue its Program of Saving Energy and Going Greener
The Delaware Transit Corporation - DART First State (DTC) continues to get greener by saving even more energy resources. DTC was awarded a $1.5 million grant to retrofit DTC offices and facilities with solar panels that will generate electric cost savings and reduce fossil fuel energy needs. The grant is from the Federal Transit Administration under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and Transit Investment for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program. This grant contributes to DTC's commitment to saving energy, operating greener, and using renewable energy to better serve our riders and our environment.
The solar panels are comprised of photovoltaic cells with ultra-thin layers of silicone. When sunlight strikes the surface of the cell, an electrical field is created resulting in a flow of electricity, and solar energy is captured by the photovoltaic modules. It is then converted from direct current (DC) power to alternating current (AC) power, and finally used to power lighting, computers, air conditioning, and other electric loads in DTC's buildings.
The environmental benefits of integrating solar energy within DTC facilities are:
- Annual reduction of approximately 657,000 pounds (298 metric tons) in carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Annual removing of approximately 63 automobiles from our highways
- Annual equivalent of 244 acres of trees
The $1.5 million investment in solar energy will return dividends based on reduction in annual buildings usage of kilowatt hours of purchased electricity. The return on the investment of the reduction in energy consumption is estimated to be approximately $48,000 per year. Solar panels have been installed at:
- Wilmington Paratransit Maintenance Facility, 600 West 2nd Street
- Dover Administration and Maintenance Facility, 900 Public Safety Blvd
- DART's Mid-County Facility, 1423 S. DuPont Highway
DART First State Invests in Solar Powered Bus Shelters and Bus Stops to Better Serve Riders
DART First State's bus shelters and stops continue to get brighter and greener thanks to solar-powered lighting. Several DART bus shelters and bus stops are equipped with a solar-powered lighting system. DART is committed to saving energy, operating greener, and using renewable energy. To better serve our riders, DART is committed to installing many more solar-powered bus shelters and bus stops in the future.
DART installs its solar powered bus shelters where the shelter may lie outside the municipal electric power grid, and because the connection and electric usage costs are prohibitive. Unlit shelters discourage riders from using DART in evening hours because of safety concerns, visibility, and difficulties reading timetable information. Solar-powered bus shelters are thus attractive to both the public and DART riders.
DART currently has 56 solar lit shelters out of its 268 shelters statewide. In both a solar lit bus stop and solar lit shelter the photovoltaic array on the roof or atop the bus stop pole collects and stores the sun's energy during the day and operates an LED light in the shelter and at the bus stop at night by using a portion of the stored battery energy.
DART has installed 9 solar-powered bus stops in northern New Castle County along Foulk Road, Philadelphia Pike, Old Forge Road, U.S. 40, Kirkwood Highway, and Rivers End Drive. Offering security down-lighting, schedule illumination and a rider-signaling device, the solar-powered light brings an increased feeling of safety and security to the rider. Another benefit is it allows bus operators to see customers at night, which reduces accidental bus pass-bys.
These solar powered rider amenities are all a part of DART's continuing efforts to go greener and protect our environment while cutting operating costs and maintaining a safe system for riders.