Santa Monica, Calif.-based Big Blue Bus will receive $12.8 million from the federal government’s economic stimulus package, which will be used to upgrade the agency’s fleet and improve its infrastructure.
“It’s very rewarding to be a catalyst for getting dollars circulating back into both the local and national economy, and to be able to develop the infrastructure for better community service all at the same time,” said Stephanie Negriff, director of transit services for the Big Blue Bus.
Negriff noted that Big Blue Bus Deputy Director, David Feinberg just returned from a successful meeting in Washington, D.C. where he met with staff members of Representative Henry Waxman, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer to review specifics of how the stimulus dollars would be spent by the agency, including the array of industries that would be positively affected by the new business.
Negriff said the stimulus funds will allow the transit agency to solve several key community needs, including offering quieter and environmentally-friendly hybrid buses on its Mini Blue neighborhood routes, and also the ability to replace older diesel buses in the fleet and introduce new articulated buses on the agency’s busiest lines.
The Big Blue Bus is planning to allocate its economic stimulus funds to purchase:
- 10 new 30-foot gasoline-electric hybrid buses for use on neighborhood Mini Blue lines.
- Three 60-foot flexible articulated buses that will be added to the busy Rapid 3 and Rapid 7 lines.
- Up to three 40-foot alternative fueled buses (manufactured by ElDorado National) that will replace several of the agency’s older diesel models.
Negriff said a key benefit that will result from the new stimulus funding is that it will allow the agency to build the infrastructure necessary to connect the network of feeder lines to L.A. Metro's Expo light rail line when it opens.
The agency will also bolster its fleet with the addition of new 60-foot articulated buses to the fleet, which will allow for more passenger boardings and less crowding on several popular lines, including the Rapid 3 and Rapid 7 lines. The new buses are expected to be in service by the second quarter of 2010.