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Metro buses packed, new 60-foot hybrid vehicles added

An influx of 22 new articulated hybrid buses is about to make the ride a little easier for many Metro customers.

Metro put six of the new articulated hybrids into service last week. The remaining hybrid coaches are in the process of being serviced and will be deployed within the next few weeks. Other hybrid buses already in the fleet will be reassigned so that the larger coaches are spread across Metro’s system to help ease overcrowding on some of the busiest routes.

“Metro has many commute-time trips that are regularly operating with packed 40-foot buses,” said King County Executive Ron Sims. “These new 60-foot buses will help us relieve some of the overcrowding on popular routes that are frequently standing-room-only.”

The hybrids are 60 percent larger than Metro’s standard buses and will relieve an overall shortage of larger buses in Metro’s fleet. The addition brings the total number of hybrid buses in the Metro system to 236 — one of the largest articulated hybrid fleets in North America.

Metro estimates that each hybrid bus burns 30 percent less fuel than a conventional coach.

Islanders and late-night drivers should prepare for delays on I-90 over Mercer Island. For the next few days, crews plan several lane and ramp closures as they build new I-90 HOV on and off-ramps on Mercer Island and improve I-90 HOV access at Bellevue Way as part of Sound Transit’s I-90 HOV access project. Work will continue through Friday, June 27. On Saturday and Sunday, crews will conduct rolling slowdowns overnight on eastbound I-90 while they install a sign bridge.

For updates, closure times and traffic information, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov.

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