[IMAGE]MVTANOVADEMOBUSFULL.jpg[/IMAGE] The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) is running an articulated bus in trial service from Feb. 25 through March 6. The bus, provided by Nova Bus, will operate on several MVTA routes, ensuring that passengers, drivers and maintenance personnel have the opportunity to provide comments about the bus.
“As we look ahead to the operation of Bus Rapid Transit in the Cedar Avenue Corridor, we want to find vehicles that will provide the easy-on/easy-off required by passengers, while also meeting capacity needs, ” said MVTA Executive Director Beverley Miller.
Offering a seating capacity of 62, plus significant standing capacity, the articulated bus would accommodate more riders than the largest bus in the MVTA fleet. The lower floor vehicles, with fold-out ramps, are a good option as a potential Bus Rapid Transit vehicle for the Cedar Avenue corridor. The MVTA will evaluate if there are specific routes that could take advantage of such additional capacity, and if there are any unique challenges to operating the 62-foot long bus. In addition to the fold-out ramp, the bus “kneels” to accommodate mobility-challenged riders.
The triple-axle, green bus will include overhead destination signs indicating the route it is performing. Magnetic logos or decals will also be placed on the vehicle to help identify it as part of the MVTA fleet. Given that the MVTA has this bus on loan for a temporary period, bicycle racks will not be installed on the vehicle. There is no farebox on the bus, so fares will not be charged when the bus is in service.
Surveys will be distributed on the bus to collect information about the passenger experience: rider comfort, wheelchair accessibility, seating style, challenges in boarding/riding the vehicle and more.
The list of routes and trips is posted at www.mvta.com.