Construction has been underway on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) latest rapid transit corridor, the Metro Orange Line, since April 2003. But now the agency has a vehicle to use on it, as well.
On Oct. 15, MTA and North American Bus Industries (NABI) debuted the first of 200 futuristic-looking, 60-foot articulated bus rapid transit (BRT) vehicles, which aim to complement the city's subway and light rail network. Starting in August 2005, the buses will run along an old rail line that has been converted into an exclusive BRT lane.
Dubbed "Metro Liners," the $663,000 buses are equipped with 320-horsepower Cummins CNG engines and are the first low-floor articulated buses ever operated in Los Angeles. The product of several years of collaboration between MTA and NABI, they were designed specifically to meet the city's need for a quiet, low-emission and high-capacity vehicle.
"It was the vision of MTA that inspired and motivated NABI to proceed with the development of this new product, which constitutes a quantum step toward the future in high-capacity bus design," said Bill Coryell, NABI vice president of sales.
Though the MTA has been running Rapid buses with some BRT features for several years, many feel the Orange Line will be the first true BRT corridor in Los Angeles.
"The Metro Liner will take public transit in Los Angeles to a new level," said Frank Roberts, MTA board chairman.
The Orange Line will consist of 13 stations, which will feature original art and architecture, lighting, seats, security cameras, public telephones, bicycle racks and ticket-vending machines. Additionally, passenger information systems will display passenger wait times, bus schedules and other information.