Puff, puff, puff went the trolley

In my last interaction with a “trolley” (really a diesel bus), I was dining at Sals in the alley when a trolley stopped [with] the exhaust pipe pointed directly into the alley, assisted [by] a light breeze. In one word, this was obnoxious. But forgivable. When the traffic light turned green, the trolley spewed a huge cloud of black smoke into the alley, causing me and many others [there] to cough several times. Nice.

Anyway, that black smoke is a sign of poor combustion and most likely a sign of poor maintenance, and worst of all affects our precious air quality. The tourists must love breathing this exhaust when the engine is idling, too. One trolley doesn’t have that much impact, but that impact can be like 100 trolleys if the engine isn’t running perfectly.

If we are going to add another trolley service, shouldn’t we at least require it to use an alternative fuel or install a diesel-oxidation catalyst like the Clean School Bus Program? Shouldn’t we (at least) subject the existing trolley to regular emissions tests to make sure it is well maintained, rather than letting it pollute more than it should? Hey! Maybe the operator will save money on fuel, too.

— Frank Gomez

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