The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

August 8, 2013

Ala. city to begin using eco-friendly buses

— BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A fleet of new eco-friendly buses will begin service in Birmingham next week, city officials said Wednesday.

Mayor William Bell told WBRC-TV (http://bit.ly/1ccngU6) that the 13 buses will be a good addition to the city, and the idea to start using them was a collaborative effort among leaders from several areas.

"For the first time, I think everybody's on the same page when it comes down to supporting transit," Bell told WBMA-TV (http://bit.ly/1cdkoWR ).

The buses will run on natural gas and are equipped with security cameras and wheelchair ramps. Officials say natural gas is a more fuel-efficient option, and will save the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority 10 percent on fuel because natural gas is cheaper than diesel.

Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority Executive Director Ann Dawson-August said the savings should translate to about $3 per gallon and will be used elsewhere.

"In operations," Dawson-August told WBMA-TV. "We got to put it back in operations. That's the most important thing because it gives us more ability to increase services on the street as well."

The transit authority will also get a 50 cent per gallon refund on natural gas purchases from the federal government, officials said.

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