Taipei mayor announces hybrid electric-diesel bus

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Sep 15, 2009 - Page 2

Taipei City and Taipei County will have 75 electric and diesel-powered hybrid buses next year to help the Greater Taipei area address pollution.

Introducing the country’s first electric and diesel-powered bus yesterday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said he hoped Taipei City and Taipei County would set a good example in joining forces with the private sector to build a greener city.

Hau said the buses were 35 percent to 50 percent more energy efficient as they are powered by electricity when travelling below 20kph to 25kph and by diesel at speeds above 25kph.

Taipei City’s Capital Bus Company will operate 60 of the hybrid buses and the Taipei Bus Company will run the remaining 15. Taipei City’s Department of Transportation said it hoped to import 20 of such vehicles in January and 40 more in April.

As the Taipei Floral Exposition is scheduled to open in November next year, the buses will provide services to Yuanshan and MRT stations along Minzu E Road, Minzu W Road and Chengde Road. The 15 hybrid buses operating in Taipei County will provide services in Sinjhuang (新莊) and Banciao (板橋).

Describing the buses as a milestone in the country’s efforts to increase environmental protection, Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) said he and Hau had joined forces to make the greater Taipei area “clean, natural, healthy and environmentally friendly.”

Chou laid out an ambitious plan to halve the number of motor vehicles in his county.

Taipei County has about 2.2 million cars, including 800 buses and 800,000 scooters.

He also vowed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the county’s transportation system over the next five years and eventually make all its buses electric-powered.

To attain the goal, Chou said the mass transportation systems of Taipei County and Taipei City must be integrated to provide convenient and environmentally friendly services at low cost.

Lee Po-wen (李博文), chairman of Capital Bus Co and Taipei Bus Co, thanked Taipei County and Taipei City governments for subsidizing the operation of the hybrid buses. However, he expressed the hope to see more government funding for the project.

Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Transportation Luo Shiaw-shyan (羅孝賢) said the bus company received a subsidy of up to NT$480,000 (US$15,000) per hybrid bus, which cost nearly NT$10 million each.

The city had no immediate plan to increase bus fares, Luo said, and would continue to subsidize bus companies to encourage them to operate hybrid vehicles. The city would not purchase more hybrid buses before the cost went down, he said, adding that the city wold not begin considering replacing buses with hybrid ones for the following five years.

The city, however, planned to have at least 500 low-platform buses with low emission of carbon dioxide before Hau finished his term in 2010, he said.