In METRO’s annual Top 100 Transit Bus Fleets, comprising U.S. and Canadian operations, numbers remain relatively unchanged, with a 1.3% increase in combined fleet totals. The number rose from 59,374 in 2002 to 60,152 in 2003.
One significant change in the survey is the drop in expected bus purchases, down 1,207 from 5,602 vehicles on 2002’s shopping list. That’s a 22% plunge, which might be expected in this time of economic uncertainty. Also, transit agencies are looking to rehabilitate 37% more buses this year, for a total of 2,413 overall.
Although it reported 107 fewer vehicles this year, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) remains in the No. 1 spot, with 4,493 buses. This size came in handy when NYCT buses aided commuters left stranded by subways and trains stopped due to the blackout in mid-August.
New Jersey Transit Corp. retains the No. 2 position, with 3,019 vehicles, nearly 1,500 vehicles behind NYCT. Continuing the trend of stability, agencies rounding out the top 10 only lost one member, Denver’s Regional Transportation District (No. 11), which was bumped by Seattle’s King County DOT/Metro Transit for the 10th position.
The greatest gainer in this year’s list was Indianapolis’ IndyGo, with an additional 93 buses, moving it up 24 slots to No. 73.
Transit fleet composition remained steady, with 47,462 vehicles over 35 feet comprising 79% of the fleet pie. Vehicles 35 feet and under make up a 14% slice with 8,902 buses, and articulated buses number 3,324, a 6% portion. Trolleys, always the most dimunitive category, shrank even more to 464 vehicles, 29% fewer than 2002.
ADA-compliant vehicles are slowly increasing in number, with 49,358 buses reported. Fifty-two percent of systems in the Top 100 have 100% wheelchair-accessible fleets. More than half of the listed systems operate alternative-fuel vehicles for a combined vehicle total of 8,368.
Compressed natural gas (CNG) is still the alternative fuel of choice. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates 1,910 CNG buses, the most of the Top 100 fleets.
Joining our list for the first time are the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (No. 46) with 374 buses and the City of Albuquerque (N.M.) Transit Department (No. 97) with 150 buses. If you know of a fleet that belongs on our list, please let us know so we can include them next year.
To see the complete Top 100 list, click here.