Detroit transportation departments adds more clean-diesel buses to fleet

Shawntay Lewis
The Detroit News

Detroit     The city's Transportation Department is adding 28 new buses to the fleet in efforts to retire older-model buses.

The new clean-diesel buses use a 20% biodiesel and standard diesel blend and replace 28 buses of the city's fleet, said executive director of transit for the Detroit Department of Transportation, C. Mikel Oglesby. The new buses will allow the city to decommission 28 coaches added to the fleet in 2010, the department's oldest buses still in service, the city said.

"For quite some time we talked about investing in the operators. We're doing that. We talked about investing in the riders, we're doing that. Now it's time to talk about the fleet and what the riders ride in," Oglesby said.

Proterra electric buses also have been incorporated into the Detroit Department of Transportation's service.

Each new bus  estimated to cost $515,000, paid for by MDOT funding to the DDOT fleet replacement program, Oglesby said. 

"These new vehicles bring things to the next level," he said. "They're clean diesel buses, similar to the diesel buses that we have out, but just like a computer each year, things get better. So it's going to be a cleaner vehicle."

A total of 32 new coaches have been added to the fleet this year, the city said in a news release announcing the 28 buses. Of the 292 coaches in active service, the 288 non-electric coaches use clean-diesel technology.

Shetrone Collier, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26 president, said  the buses would provide more reliable service. 

"I think presenting these new coaches and bringing them in, shows a commitment from the city to not only change over its fleet, but also to provide a safe and reliable service that the citizens of Detroit badly need," Collier said.  

DDOT bus operator Eugene Sloan has worked for DDOT for eight years. He said the new vehicles hopefully will help him.

"It's really encouraging to know that when I report to work that I will have the proper equipment to perform my job," Sloan said.

DDOT is expected to look into other ways to power public transportation such as electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles, Oglesby said.

DDOT announced the addition of 4 electric buses to the fleet in May to try more energy- efficient rides.

"We are going to order another 10 vehicles by the end of the year, which means by the first quarter of next year, all of these older 2010s. . . will be replaced by new, clean-diesel vehicles," he said.

A new DDOT electric bus manufactured by Proterra, at the Rosa Parks Transit Center, Monday, May 23, 2022.

DDOT is looking to hire at least 80 operators along with the new fleet.

Job fairs will be posted through September to for hiring.