• The City of Detroit

Detroit to fuel 28 new buses with B20 biodiesel


Mikel Oglesby, the executive director of transit for the Detroit Department of Transportation (Photo: The City of Detroit)

The Detroit Department of Transportation continues to expand and improve its fleet of buses with the recent addition of 28 new cleaner diesel-engine coaches, giving the transit system its youngest and most environmentally friendly fleet in its history.

The 28 new 40-foot coaches, from bus manufacturer New Flyer, will use an environmentally friendly fuel blend of 20 percent biodiesel.

The new coaches will allow for the decommissioning of 28 coaches added to the fleet in 2010, DDOT’s oldest buses still in active service.


Engine technology has improved significantly since 2010, so the new buses produce fewer emissions.

With the addition of four pilot program electric buses to DDOT’s fleet in May, a total of 32 new coaches have been added to the fleet so far this year.

Of the 292 coaches in active service, the 288 nonelectric coaches use clean-diesel technology.


Per its fleet-replacement plan, DDOT will add an additional 10 buses later this year and 10 more early next year.

“We are committed to providing Detroit’s transit riders with safe, quality transportation, and that includes upgrading coaches when necessary,” said Mikel Oglesby, DDOT’s executive director of transit. “We are always happy when we can get more buses on the road to get Detroiters where they need to go. The fact that these buses use clean diesel, and are more friendly to the environment, is an added bonus.”

The addition of the new coaches brings the average age of the fleet down to 5.8 years, from 6.9 years before the new coaches came into active service.


When Mayor Mike Duggan took office in 2014 and began systematically replacing aging buses, the average age of the fleet was nearly 10 years, just shy of the Federal Transit Administration’s retirement age of 12 years/500,000 miles.

The new coaches will feature amenities for riders such as bicycle racks, video infotainment, and USB chargers, as well as protective barriers to offer the operators additional safety on their routes. The cost for each coach was approximately $515,000.

DDOT is hosting several job fairs to recruit new transit-equipment operators (bus drivers), coach-service attendants (bus cleaners), and auto mechanics.

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