TriMet launches new state-of-the-art hybrid buses


Hybrids will operate between North Portland and Clackamas Town Center


(front row) Dr. T. Allen Bethel, TriMet Board member; Dr. Algie Gatewood, Portland Community College Cascade Campus president; Neil McFarlane, TriMet general manager. (back row) Carmen Rubio, Latino Network executive director; Loretta Smith, Multnomah County commissioner

TriMet along with community partners today held a ribbon cutting ceremony in North Portland to launch four new state-of-the-art hybrid buses into service. Federal grant funds were used to purchase these low-emission, high-efficiency hybrid buses.

The hybrids, with technology similar to a Chevy Volt, will run on Line 72-Killingsworth/82nd Ave, one of the busiest routes among TriMet’s 79 bus lines. With the four hybrids, it adds up to 55 new buses that have been put into service since October. Most of the new bus purchases were funded by grants.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane said the new buses will run on Line 72 between North Portland and Clackamas Town Center, a 17-mile route with the second highest ridership of the bus network. It averages about 17,000 rides a day.

“These cleaner, quieter buses will be more fuel efficient and replace some of our oldest buses well past retirement that have higher emissions and are more costly to maintain,” said McFarlane. “These new buses will benefit our riders, but also all of the residents living along this popular bus line.”


TriMet launches four new hybrid buses into service on the Line 72-Killingsworth/82nd Ave, with an event at the Portland Community College Cascade Campus.

The hybrids are expected to be 20-50 percent more fuel efficient, with 95 percent less emissions. The quiet electric motor has fewer moving parts than a traditional transmission, so they will last longer and require less maintenance.

“These buses will deliver better service and they serve as a demonstration that our federal partners understand the importance of investing in transportation and our communities,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.

TriMet is putting these cleaner buses along Line-72 because of its dedication to transit and health equity and improving the air quality of the community, since this line serves a disproportionally high percentage of low-income and minority residents who are impacted by high emissions from transportation and industry.

“TriMet is truly benefiting the community by putting these cleaner buses in an area that has some of the highest cases of chronic asthma, which disproportionately impacts communities of color,” said Latino Network Executive Director Carmen Rubio.

Portland Community College Cascade Campus President Dr. Algie Gatewood hosted the hybrid event. “Thousands of our students ride transit everyday to get to PCC on their way to economic prosperity, and now the ride will be a lot more comfortable and reliable for them,” said Dr. Gatewood.

More about the hybrids

The buses use technology similar to the Chevy Volt:

  • The buses have no mechanical link between the diesel engine and the vehicle’s tires.
  • The diesel engine feeds a generator, which in turn, provides power to the batteries that supply electricity to the electric motor. The electric motor propels the bus.
  • Federal grant funds, from the FTA’s Clean Fuels Grant Program, were used to purchase these low-emission, high-efficiency hybrid buses.

The new hybrid buses will also feature low-floor accessible boarding, lower exhaust emissions and noise levels, feature automatic stop announcements and CCTV security cameras.