CyRide goes green with hybrid buses

Sara Schlueter —

The familiar CyRide buses that service the Ames community and ISU campus are in for a new makeover. CyRide is joining the initiative to “live green” and will add 12 hybrid buses, called “Cybrids,” to its fleet beginning this summer and continuing into December.

“The guiding philosophy behind this is to be aware of our impact on the environment,” said Susan Gwiasda, public relations officer for Ames.

The 12 hybrid buses cost $6 million.

“We have been wanting to do this for a long time, and now we are able to because of the federal economic stimulus dollars we were granted,” said Sheri Kyras, CyRide transit director.

Federal stimulus dollars will be the primary source of funding for the buses.

The cost of one regular CyRide bus is $380,000 — compared to $520,000 for an electric hybrid bus — but CyRide officials think the cost is worthwhile. “The [hybrids] give off one-third less emissions,” Kyras said. “They are much healthier for the environment, have improved miles per gallon and they are much quieter.”

In order for the Ames community and ISU students to easily identify these hybrid buses, CyRide is having a vote on three possible designs.

“We want to get the word out that CyRide values the students’ input in kicking off the program, and that the students are an important part of making it a success,” said Merry Rankin, ISU director of sustainability.

The survey of the three design options is available on the CyRide Web site, Voting began Friday and will end Thursday. The winning design will be posted no later than Jan. 20.

“The different bus designs will emphasize the difference CyRide is making, and it will remind the Ames community every time they see one of these buses of our ‘live green’ efforts,” Gwiasda said.