New biodiesel buses report for duty

NEW ORLEANS, LA After Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than half of the city's 370 buses, the Regional Transit Authority purchased 39 buses at a cost of $15 million. The buses use cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel.

The vehicles were built by the Orion bus company based in Ontario, Canada. At 35 feet long, the bus is smaller than the standard RTA coach.

Currently, 29 of the buses are in the New Orleans area, with 10 more arriving from New York in the next few months.

The release of the brand-new buses comes at a time of increased reliance on the RTA. From April and May of 2007 to April and May of this year, RTA spokeswoman Rosalind Cook says ridership has increased 53 percent.

Cook says many of the new riders have been using public transportation in light of rising gas prices.

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