go greener

As most of you know, M*tro Tr*nsit has purchased a number of hybrid buses over the last few years. Right now, they are primarily being used on routes that travel the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Starting in 2010, all the buses on the Mall will be hybrids.

On Friday, though, when I checked in to drive the 24, I was given a hybrid bus.

(not this one)

Northbound, the 24 line snakes through the Longfellow and Seward neighborhoods before taking Franklin Avenue to Park Avenue, through the Elliot Park neighborhood and into downtown on 9th Street.

The dispatcher reasoned (correctly, in my opinion) that the people who ride lines other than the Nicollet Mall lines need to see the hybrid buses.

And really, the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods have a pretty large percentage of green-thinking individuals, so the 24 was a fairly logical choice of lines on which to put a hybrid bus.

And the people of the 24 were very excited. I answered questions about the bus all day. Yes, I do like it. It's a nice ride and it accelerates very well. Yes, very quiet and much fewer emissions. Yep, we do lose some seats because of the low-floor design. Love the wheelchair and walker ramp (vs. the lifts). Slightly better gas mileage, but given the number of miles these buses will travel, it'll save a lot. etc. etc. etc.

And I felt like an absolute hero every time I drove by the Birchwood Cafe, with the hippies sitting outside, waving and grinning at me all misty-eyed as they nibbled on their grilled abalone mushrooms and polenta...

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