If you’ve ever had the pleasure of living in or visiting Turkey, you’ll find it’s very hard to get lost off the beaten trail. The public transportation system there is so well oiled; bus owners of private buses or the smaller minibuses –– the dolmus –– are so well organized, you can literally scoot across the country by just telling one of the bus assistants (who approach you), where you’d like to go.
A few years back when I was there, I noticed the service was great too: buses are on time; the assistant –– who operates like a steward –– splashes cologne in your hands as a refresher, and then serves you tea, coffee and cookies. A delight.
The world has a lot to learn from the Turkish public transportation system which may just be getting a whole lot better: According to the Ankara newspaper Hurriyet, the Turks have developed their own hybrid buses at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), and feasibility studies are underway to test how the buses will work in the urban environment.
A country-wide initiative to reduce greenhouse gases in the transportation sector –– called Project Ğ –– aims to increase the use of hybrid vehicles in large urban areas. The new hybrid bus initiative is part of it.
“The cars with internal combustion engines have many disadvantages in traffic jams. The electric and hybrid cars don’t use energy while waiting in traffic thanks to the engine and batteries, the batteries charge when the brake is applied and while it is going downhill. These actions make the vehicles more efficient,” said Hamdi Uçarol, a researcher from TÜBİTAK developing the project.
Researchers continue their studies, meanwhile prototypes of their new buses are now at the commercialization stage.
In noisy Turkish cities, the quieter hybrids, will also reduce noise pollution.
And if the Turks play their cards right, they may be able to compete with the hybrid development in countries such as Japan and United States, they hope. “If studies and research continue in Turkey, we will catch up with those countries. The project will be fulfilled until the end of this year and the buses will be presented to the industry,” said Uçarol.
One question on this Green Prophet’s mind: since hybrid buses are already being used effectively in places like New York City, then why re-invent the wheel?
Image credit: Tupinamba