November 8, 2010

New Buses! FTA Clean-Air Grant Will Provide 12 New MetroBuses

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Metro will get a boost in its program to restore transit service to customers with a new $4 million federal grant that the Agency will use to buy 12 buses. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has notified Metro that its grant application has been approved through the FTA Clean Fuels Bus Grant program to buy buses that meet current federal emissions requirements.

Metro immediately needs more buses to restore services that were reduced in March 2009 for financial reasons.  Metro began implementing service restoration in June and has been working to speed up bus acquisition.

Metro has been searching for grants to help rebuild its bus fleet because we had to cancel purchases in recent years because of financial challenges.
This is very exciting news!  As many of our riders have noticed, many buses in our fleet are older and some are experiencing overcrowding.

Metro’s Maintenance Department has allowed it to operate buses beyond the industry standard of 500,000 miles and Metro’s target of an average bus age of eight years. As of December 2009, 67 percent of the buses in Metro’s fleet had logged an average of 500,000 miles and 36 percent ranged from 10 to 18 years old. This year, 160 buses in the fleet of 360 are eligible to be replaced.

“Our goal is to get back to our base business plan where we replace about one-fifteenth of our fleet each year. Eventually, our target is to consistently buy 30 new buses a year. Right now, with us short on buses, we are expediting our purchase schedule, and obtaining grants such as this one is very helpful in those efforts,” COO Ray Friem said.

These buses will help find the right bus for the route, based on ridership.  In addition, new buses have much better emissions controls than older models and technological amenities such as on-board security cameras, GPS tracking, and low-floor kneeling for easier boarding.

14 thoughts on “New Buses! FTA Clean-Air Grant Will Provide 12 New MetroBuses”

  1. Jimmy Z says:

    Congratulations on the grant. I also saw on Channel 4 that you are getting grant for diesel-electric hybrid buses, as well – true?

    I do, however, wish that you all would “push the envelope” more. CNG is slightly cleaner than current clean diesels, but it’s still a carbon-based fuel. The real goal should be less overall consumption, not just fewer emissions, and I see the most promise for your type of fleet in clean diesel hydraulic hybrids:

    If nothing else, I’d like to see you test a Lightning Hybrids conversion on one of your newer Chevrolet demand-responsive vehicles:

  2. Patrick Richmond says:

    12 new MetroBuses in addition to the 50 new MetroBuses, that will bring the total to 62! This is going to keep our friends at Gillig Corporation hot on their toes! I have ridden a sample of what we are getting. The domelights are great! Gillig has added a new feature that cuts down on glare. They are programed to now the driver can have the string of lights operate off of the doors. Great for night time operations on Clayton Road.

  3. Dhampton says:

    What kind of buses are you getting and when is metro expecting on getting them? 30, 35, 40, and 60 foot buses, do they apply to the order? Possibly Gillig Lowfloor BRT? Thanx for reading this post.

    1. Courtney says:

      No problem! I’ve asked to have an idea of the bus delivery schedule and type/size. Will post as soon as I find out!

  4. J says:

    good then i can expect the 33 will have a bigger bus now since the bus has gotten full to capacity since the changes and will probably get even more fully when the nov. 29 changes.

  5. Courtney says:

    Here is the tentative schedule for bus delivery: 21 buses scheduled for first quarter of 2011, including 7 40-ft buses and 14 35-ft. Approximately next September, 29 more 40-ft buses should be built. They are all 2010 Gillig 3800 series low-floor all-clean diesel.

  6. DHampton says:

    Thankyou Courtney. I wanted to know about how the new buses because I make MCT and MetroBuses in 3-D Models out of cardboard. I was just wondering if i should start planning on new styles or moldels to add to my current fleet. I have 6 MCT Buses, and 2 Metro Buses (083503) and (093604).

  7. DHampton says:

    Are there any 60 foot buses coming in the future?
    Thanx Again.

    1. Courtney says:

      I don’t know of any plans to purchase 60 ft buses right now, but I think its an ongoing process of figuring which buses work with ridership demand. Will let you know if we plan to purchase any in the future.

  8. Jimmy Z says:

    Any thoughts on all-electric? promises great things, but I have my doubts.

  9. Patrick Richmond says:

    We owe thanks to Union Pacific for the helping out in the delivery of the new buses. Many of the drivers state they like the new buses better than the old ones. I have foun out from Gillig on Facebook that they have airbag suspension at all four wheel mounts. I always thank God for the creation of those “craftsmen” at Gillig. They are really talented guys! And if I am not mistaken, I saw a prototype of a 3800 Gillig interior on Facebook.

  10. Patrick Richmond says:

    LONG LIVE GILLIG! LONG LIVE GILLIG!!!! Gillig is the best. Gillig is the best. Gillig is the best in building buses for the express!

  11. Eli Karabell says:

    I am very happy that we are acquire new Gillig Buses. I think it will make an already outstanding public transit system even better!

  12. Jimmy Z says:

    In the meantime, maybe you can borrow, lease or buy some buses from Pittsburgh to speed up the schedule restoration:

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