At the 2002 International Public Transportation EXPO in Las Vegas, North American Bus Industries unveiled a 45-foot CompoBus that will be the linchpin of the Phoenix Public Transit Department's bus rapid transit (BRT) program.
Ed Zuercher, transit director for the Phoenix Public Transit Department, said he expects the 45-foot bus to attract strong ridership by providing peak-period commuter service along major travel corridors in Phoenix. The contemporary styling of the bus should also help to attract riders. "Image is important," he said. "It's the power of something new and different."
The Phoenix agency ordered 56 of the BRT vehicles and expected delivery of the first vehicle in mid-October. Zuercher said the entire complement of new buses should be received by May or June 2003.
Zuercher said the buses will be equipped with commuter-style appointments such as high-back, forward-facing seats with overhead storage racks and individual reading lights and air conditioning vents. To emphasize the distinctiveness of the buses and express service, the agency will use new designs for the bus shelters.
Bill Coryell, NABI's vice president of sales, said the company has also been awarded contracts for BRT vehicles from the city of Tempe and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The buses for Phoenix and Tempe will be powered by liquefied natural gas engines, while the Los Angeles buses will be powered by CNG.
Coryell said the 45-foot CompoBus offers an 18% increase in passenger capacity. He said the unique unitized body allowed NABI to extend the bus length by five feet, which puts seven more seats on the vehicle without substantially affecting other operating costs.
Zuercher said the buses cost approximately $339,000 each, about a $30,000 premium over typical fixed-route buses. The fare for the BRT service will likely be $1.75 per ride, compared to $1.25 for fixed-route service.