February 14, 2011

MetroBus Riders’ Sweet Valentine Delivery: 10 New Low-Floor Buses

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MetroBus riders received a sweet Valentine’s Day Delivery today: 10 new low-floor MetroBus were unveiled at an event at the Brentwood Garage.  Metro Chief Operating Officer – Transit Ray Friem spoke today about the new buses, which include many features that increase passenger safety, comfort and accessibility, as well as reduces emissions, and improves route planning and maintenance.

The newest additions to the MetroBus fleet are 35 foot buses built by the Gillig Corporation of Hayward, California.  Metro will take ownership of 50 buses this year and 51 next year. Funding for the new buses comes from a Federal Transit Administration grant for transit vehicle replacement, and Metro’s goal is to replace buses in the fleet as they reach 15 years in service.

Superintendent of MetroBus Operation Janis Shetley inside one of the new buses.

These new buses also include GPS location software and the latest electronic dispatch technology to track vehicles for safety, efficiency and better route planning.

Ten of the new 35-foot American-made buses will run in Missouri; the next seven 40-foot vehicles off the assembly line will go to St. Clair County Transit to upgrade their fleet.  New features include:

Willie Kimbrough of Paraquad demonstrates the wheelchair ramp.

  • Low floor with wheelchair ramps and kneeling features to make it easier to board
  • Specially designed areas accommodate two wheelchairs per bus and can be used by other customers in the absence of wheelchairs
  • Hanging straps
  • Blue floors
  • LED lights on the interior and exterior of the bus
  • Seating allows for increased aisle space and more ergonomic design
  • Equipped with latest computer-aided dispatch technology to track the vehicles for safety, efficiency and better route planning
  • Six-camera system on each MetroBus vehicle to monitor passengers, the driver and the road
  • Latest electronic control and emissions technology
  • Urea is injected into exhaust stream to reduce emissions
  • Stainless steel frames with aluminum panels are crash and corrosion resistant
  • Average cost per vehicle: $377,000

Willie Kimbrough of Paraquad and the Executive Director of the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging Dave Sykora spoke at unveiling the about the new buses’ features that benefit the senior and disabled MetroBus riders, including the low-floor, “kneeling” action of the buses to avoid climbing stairs and the on-board wheelchair ramp.

More photos:

The new buses will roll into service starting next week.  Let us know if you see one on your route!

17 thoughts on “MetroBus Riders’ Sweet Valentine Delivery: 10 New Low-Floor Buses”

  1. Dennis KH2 says:

    So exactly how many 35 footers, and 40 footers are supposed to arrive?

    1. Courtney says:

      In this first delivery, 10 are 35 foot buses, and the 7 going to St. Clair County in Illinois are 40-foot buses. More buses are scheduled to arrive throughout the year: 14 35-foot and 36 40-foot buses.

  2. samizdat says:

    Do any of the cuts proposed by the radical right-wing in the House include the very same grant program which made this purchase possible? In the budget proposed by the extremist Republicans in the House, the FTA WMATA gets slashed by 150MillionUSD, and FTA Energy Efficiency grants by 75MillionUSD. Did the grants come from either of these two, or another program? Some info is here, at the bottom of the list: http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/14/gop-zeroes/#more-50429

  3. Jimmy Z says:

    What’s so special about “blue floors”? Won’t they just show more dirt?

    1. Courtney says:

      Ha, the blue part is just to brighten up the bus, but the composite nature of the floor plus grooving makes it easier to clean and channel water.

  4. robert says:

    are these “green” buses or gas guzzlers

    if they are gas guzzlers that’s a BIG disappointment and a waste of money

    1. Courtney says:

      Robert, that is a great question. These are ultra-low sulfur diesel buses. Metro, thus far, as not chosen to invest in the more expensive hybrid buses because in our testing we found that given our operational profile in MO and IL (i.e. flat, long stretches of driving due to spread-out development and lower population density) and our preventative maintenance program, there is very little difference in fuel efficiency between our diesel buses and hybrids. At least right now. These buses do, however, have very excellent emission controls, not only from the filtration but also an injection of urea into exhaust that greatly reduces nitrous oxide emission. I will do a complete blog post on this topic. Thanks for asking!

  5. Dennis KH2 says:

    So do you have any more pics of the new buses maybe the rear and the driver’s side?

  6. nA says:

    I would be interested in the following feature. What does it mean to a rider? How does it help a rider. Can he find out where exactly a particular bus is?

    Equipped with latest computer-aided dispatch technology to track the vehicles for safety, efficiency and better route planning

    1. Courtney says:

      The new buses are equipped with GPS technology that allows transit dispatch to know exactly where a bus is at a given time, when mechanical problem occur, when passengers board, etc. It is real-time bus tracking that hopefully will allow passengers to track when their bus is arriving, and will help improve planning decisions by showing exactly where passengers are boarding and disboarding.

  7. Jordan S. says:

    Metro isnt the only bus service to roll out with new buses. Madison County Transit has also just rolled out with new BRT Restyled Gillig Buses. Is there going to be 45 -foot and 60-foot buses? Some of MetroBuses busiest route are at peak capacity. I know that Gillig currently doesn’t make articulated buses. Is it under consideration?

    1. Courtney says:

      Articulated buses have been road tested on the #70 Grand route, but no concrete plans in place at this time.

  8. Patrick Richmond says:

    I remember buses with the blue floors years ago. The 1978 model Flxibles had them. But I had mentioned time after time to put one on the #48 South Lindbergh and the #158 West County Chesterfield line. And the run I am talking about on the #48 South Lindbergh pulls out of Catalan Loop at 5:36 AM. My friend needs the low floor bus, and he boards at Kirkwood Road and Big Bend. He boards the 3:40 bus on that same route heading back to Kirkwood. Now on the #158 I am talking about leaves at 6:40 AM headed to St. John’s Hospital and then in the afternoon on that same bus, leaves Delmar Gardens Chesterfield at 3:39.

  9. Jimmy Z says:

    Like the new seats, LED lights and the improved, quicker-to-deploy wheelchair accessibility that the low floor brings. Don’t like the hanger straps, since they’re hard to clean and will become increasingly groady and grungy over time (unlike stainless steel). Unsaid is any reduction in seating capacity – how many seats do the new low-floor buses have compared to the old ones (of the same length)? Finally, many properties have route numbers displayed on the rear of their vehicles. While eliminating this feature obviously saves Metro a few bucks, as a rider, I still like to know if the bus I just missed was the one I wanted (so I can make alternate plans). Any chance rear displays can be included in future purchases? Thanks!

  10. Patrick Richmond says:

    Thanks for posting the picture of Janis Shetley. I remember her for a very long time. Those LED lights are a nice safety feature. White LED lights shining on the step risers and amber LED lights shinging between the upper floor and the lips of the steps. I’ve ridden the 3500s which are also low floor buses. They even have a safety feature in the domelights which allows the bus driver to set up the lights to where the strip along the doors can be activated by the front door and/or the back door thus cutting down on windshield glare. These have air bags under each wheelwell to help improve the ride. Riders get one thing restored that hasn’t been restored in YEARS!!! A plush ride. The public hasn’t had one since the we had the Neoplan Metroliners. I am sure lots of readers remember those buses.

  11. Jordan S. says:

    Is there going to be any articulated buses for metro?

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