August 2010

Torrance Transit marks 70 years with new gasoline-electric fleet

by METRO Staff

In June, Calif.-based Torrance Transit took delivery of 10 New Flyer gasoline-electric hybrid buses complete with new branding.

Purchased as part of the Cooperative Procurement Pilot Program using ARRA funds, Torrance Transit recently rolled out the first of its New Flyer gasoline-elecric hybrid buses in June.

In June, Calif.-based Torrance Transit took delivery of 10 New Flyer gasoline-electric hybrid buses complete with new branding. The new buses are expected to usher in the future, as the agency celebrates its 70th year in operation.

"The year 2010 marks the 70th anniversary of Torrance Transit and, to celebrate this milestone, we elected to modernize our fleet, rebrand our image and kick it all off with the big event we held in June," Transit Director Kim Turner said. "We also have an ongoing marketing campaign to launch the 'new' Torrance Transit."

 The 41-foot New Flyer buses, manufactured in St. Cloud, Minn., feature Ford V-10 Triton (gasoline) and ISE Hybrid Drive System (electric) propulsion; are ADA compliant; and seat 38 adult passengers with room for two wheelchairs.

"Our plan is to reduce our carbon footprint with the acquisition of these new buses powered by clean air technology and reduce preventive maintenance costs," Turner said.

The transit agency is currently pursuing an aggressive Fleet Modernization Project to transition its current all-diesel bus fleet - some of which are approaching nearly 18 years in age (and 600,000 miles of service life) - to more environmentally friendly hybrid-electric buses by FY 2015/2016.

In June 2009, Torrance Transit began Phase I of its Three-Phase Fleet Modernization Project. "The overall project cost is roughly $34 million, as gasoline-electric hybrids are approximately $650,000 per vehicle in FY 2010 dollars," Turner said.

In September 2006, Torrance Transit, along with several other transit agencies and cities, entered into a Cooperative Procurement Pilot Program (CPPP) with the City of Montebello to purchase alternative-fueled vehicles.

The CPPP allowed all participating agencies to buy buses at a discount price, requiring only a 10 percent local match, instead of the traditional 20 percent match mandated by the FTA.         

"The goal was to take advantage of the economies of scale by creating a larger bidding process that would be more competitive and, ultimately, result in unit cost savings and better use of transit dollars," explained Turner, who added that the first 10 hybrid buses were purchased, in part, with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Torrance Transit, which has a fleet of 52 buses, began bus service Jan. 15, 1940, with three leased 1931 Mack-33 buses. In 1986, it moved into a newly constructed 32,000-square-foot facility that houses Torrance Transit's fleet services, operations and administration divisions.

 


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