Green buses roll into Eau Claire, to display UWEC students' artwork

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - The City of Eau Claire will soon be saving nearly $17,000 each year on fuel, as the first hybrid bus just rolled into town, with two more on the way.

Nature and wildlife will soon make its way to bus stops and buildings throughout Eau Claire when the city unveils its new hybrid buses, wrapped in artwork done by U.W Eau Claire students, an idea that the city's transit manager did while working in Alaska with artist Ray Troll.

Students applied to be a part of the project, where they design scenes for the three green buses. Seniors Luke Benson, Alison Wheeler and Jenny Johns came up with different nature scenes representing Eau Claire in all four seasons.

"We wanted to show natural environments from Eau Claire and add some fun elements," Benson said.

"It's constantly moving around town, and that picks up almost everyone in the area as an audience," Wheeler said.

The city said federal grants for more than $1.6 million covered the costs.

"(The city is) moving towards that sort of feel with going green and I'm glad that we're able to be a part of that," Johns said.

Soon, Eau Claire bus driver, Linder Benson, will drive a bus covered in his son Luke's artwork.

"It's a pretty interesting thing to happen. Especially because he's one who really got me into art. So that's pretty cool," Luke Benson said.

"One of the things they used to have me do every evening after supper was do some drawing for them, and pretty soon, Luke took over on his own and here he is today," Linder Benson said.

"It reminds me every day that hey, my son was involved in it and certainly makes me feel good about that."

This bus is scheduled to be wrapped next week and the other two are set to be done in Mar.

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