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Citibus rolling out new hybrid buses on Texas Tech campus

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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Citibus has introduced 15 new hybrid electric buses on its routes through Texas Tech University, starting when students returned for the spring semester.

Lubbock’s public transportation provider purchased the vehicles through a $39.6 million federal grant it received in 2022.

The grant from the Federal Transit Administration, matched with TxDOT funds, will allow Citibus to replace older buses in its fleet with modern ones. General Manager Chris Mandrell says on average, buses in the Citibus fleet are 22 years old.

“I was a student at Tech and some of the buses we rode on back then, we had some of those still in service,” he said. “The reception of these...from the administration and from the students on campus has been tremendous.”

The grant that funded the buses is part of the FTA’s Low or No Emission program.

“There’s no local money involved. We were able to get this 100% from the federal government, bring that money here and improve our services,” Mandrell said.

The hybrid buses have electric vehicle capabilities, running on batteries and diesel fuel.

“Much like a lot of automobiles, nowadays, when you pull up to a stop light, the engine shuts off. It’ll be battery powered until you take off again,” Mandrell said. “We also have the ability to use a telematics system to create green zones. So, if there’s a particular neighborhood or an area in the community where we want to be 100%. EV, we can do that.”

There are also updates inside the bus, from new floors and seating, to updated air conditioners.

City council approved the purchase of 15 more hybrid buses to join the fleet through the grant in December. They are expected to arrive this fall. After that, Mandrell says the grant money will allow Citibus to purchase five to seven buses each year, until it has 48 to 50 new hybrid buses total.

“Utilizing that money and and allocating that across the next couple of years, to make sure that we’re set up for future to be more successful than what we have in the past,” he said.

The hybrids will be seen on more routes off campus as Citibus purchases more.


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