Management & Operations

TARTA adds Blue Birds to fleet

Posted on February 1, 2006

The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) in Ohio will include 10 recently delivered Blue Bird Coachworks’ Ultra LF 35-foot, low-floor buses in its alternative-fuel testing program, according to James Gee, TARTA’s general manager. TARTA serves more than 40 routes in and around the Toledo metropolitan area with a fleet of about 180 buses, all of which are ADA accessible. It carries almost 5 million riders per year. The Toledo transit system is testing B20 — a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% ultra low sulfur diesel fuel — in many of its buses, with the hope that it will help to reduce tailpipe emissions. It is also testing hydrogen fuel with the B20 blend in one of its Ford cutaway buses. Gee said the Blue Birds are the first in his fleet, which has a varied mix of manufacturer products. “We are excited to welcome Blue Bird into our fleet,” he said, adding that the Ultra LFs were acquired partially for their fuel economy but also for their looks and reputation. “They deliver everything we are looking for in a transit vehicle — quality, durability and lower operating costs,” he said. In its kneeled position, the industry-standard 102-inch-wide Ultra LF features a 10-inch height at its front entrance door. Gee said the addition of low-floor buses to his fleet will be well received by the public. “The reaction to low-floor buses, especially from senior citizens, has been outstanding,” he said. The 30-passenger Blue Birds are equipped with a 275-hp Cummins ISB-02 engine and Allison B300-R transmission, two components that help to improve fuel efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. Other key features of the 10 delivered units include Meritor independent front suspension, four-wheel air disc brakes, a roof-mounted Thermo King climate-control system, two wheelchair positions, and ADA accessibility via a Ricon power ramp. Additionally, all vehicles are equipped with the Vapor CLASS™ Door system and Digital Recorder’s Talking Bus.

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