MTA operator not fond of hybrids
The Maryland Transit Administration has had nothing but laudatory things to say about its new hybrid buses. It has publicly praised them for their fuel efficiency, relative quiet and superior maintenance record.
But not every bus operator is a fan. During a recent ride on one of the MTA's busiest routes (which I'll omit for the driver's protection), the operator told me the hybrids aren't all they're cracked up to be in a number of ways.
According to the driver, the rear doors of the bus are prone to closing automatically after three passengers have disembarked, even if it means they close on Passenger No. 4. He also said the front doors close too slowly, causing him to miss green lights.
His other gripes include the venicles' performance. He said the hybrids are too quick to accelerate and too slow to stop.
MTA spokeswoman Jawauna Greene said the operator's complaints contradict what she has heard from MTA drivers. She said the feedback the MTA has received has been strongly positive and that there have been no complaints from passengers about injuries from doors. And as a passenger, I thought the ride was smoother and quieter than on the conventional bus I'd taken minutes earlier.
So what's the real deal here? MTA operators and passengers are invited to weigh in -- not that it will change anything. The MTA has committed to eventually replace all of its conventional diesel buses with the hybrids, which are partially fueled by an electric battery.