December 9, 2005

Ottawa delays hybrid bus purchase to study natural gas options

Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa City Council has held back the $536 million purchase of new hybrid buses, to allow for further study of natural gas buses from a financial and emissions viewpoint.

City council staff had originally recommended purchasing 226 diesel-electric hybrid buses over the next three years as the mid-term solution in the move to a zero-emission transit fleet. The staff had rejected Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), claiming it was too costly in capital investment and provided no emissions advantage over clean diesel or diesel-electric hybrids.

In August 2005, a consortium headed by natural gas distributor Enbridge presented a proposal for CNG buses, which was initially rejected. However, in its November meeting, the city council agreed to an independent cost-shared study, with Enbridge paying half, to compare hybrid buses with natural gas buses. The study is due by March 2006. The council committed to buying 63 clean-diesel buses in the interim.

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