The ability to maximize the life cycle of MetroBus vehicles and save millions of dollars in the process has attracted the interest of transit agencies around the nation and the world. This national and international reputation has led to a new distinction for Metro — recognition by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as a model for transit asset management.
Specifically highlighted by the FTA in the July 26 Federal Register was a case study of Metro transit’s industry-leading bus maintenance program and how it has been able to extend the lifespan of buses by 25 percent and decrease the rate of breakdowns by 85 percent, resulting in service reliability for the customer and substantial cost savings for the taxpayer.
“This started out 15 years ago as a simple challenge to see what we could do to improve our industry-average bus maintenance results,” said Ray Friem, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “With the amazing work of the Metro maintenance team and the management program we have perfected over the past 15 years, we are proud to be recognized as an industry leader. Our outstanding program allows us to provide the best possible service to our region while saving taxpayers money by keeping our costs significantly lower.”
Research, academic literature and external reviews from organizations like the U.S. Government Accountability Office emphasize many benefits of asset management programs for transit systems, including:
Starting on October 1, 2016, the FTA will require public transportation agencies to develop and implement asset management plans. Metro transit’s asset management program has been in place since 2001.
Two key aspects of Metro’s success are the close monitoring of each bus in the fleet and the proactive replacement of key components instead of waiting for them to fail. The average life cycle of a MetroBus is now 15 years and 825,000 miles traveled. The transit industry standard is 12 years and 600,000 miles traveled. Additionally, overall MetroBus reliability has increased substantially as the time between bus breakdowns has increased from 3,400 miles in 2000 to more than 22,000 miles today.
“Ray and his team have put together and sustained a bus maintenance program recognized around the world for its innovative approach and efficiencies,” said John Nations, President and CEO of Bi-State Development. “This new recognition in the Federal Register highlights Metro transit’s transformational leadership that is redefining the standards for the public transit industry.”