Whistler’s first hydrogen bus in operation by Nov. 17 

Commuters will be able to ride Whistler's first hydrogen fuel-cell bus by Nov. 17.

B.C. Transit announced this week that the first of 20 hydrogen buses will arrive in Whistler Monday, Nov. 9, with the state-of-the-art bus officially in service the following week.

People who ride the new bus should notice that it is smoother and quieter than the traditional diesel buses in Whistler, said Joanna Morton, spokesperson for B.C. Transit.

The other 19 hydrogen buses that are part of the $89 million federal and provincial pilot project should all arrive sometime before the end of December.

Each time a new hydrogen bus arrives in Whistler, it will have to undergo commissioning and servicing. B.C. Transit couldn't say this week exactly when all 20 buses will be in service within Whistler, but another spokesperson with the Crown agency confirmed all buses will be running during the 2010 Winter Games.

Once the buses arrive in Whistler, they will be kept at the brand-new transit facility currently under construction near Nesters Road.

Morton said B.C. Transit is also planning to celebrate the arrival of the first hydrogen bus this month, although a date for the event hasn't been nailed down yet.

She added that B.C. Transit will also release the budget for the multi-million-dollar bus hub at the celebration.

The hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are assembled in Winnipeg and transported to Vancouver by trailer. They are then driven to Victoria where technicians do preparation work before the buses are sent to Whistler. Every single bus also goes through a 15-day test before B.C. Transit accepts it from the manufacturer.

B.C. Transit also did extensive testing with a pre-production version of the hydrogen buses in Whistler, Victoria, and Ottawa. The model passed the tests, said Morton, with no issues climbing hills or functioning in minus 20 degrees Celsius weather.

"These buses are going to be in operation for potentially up to 22 hours in Whistler during the Games, so we needed to have the confidence that the buses would be operational in a cold climate," said Morton.



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