The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) continues to order buses at a furious pace in order to comply with court-ordered improvements in bus service.
Last month, LACMTA exercised and awarded an option for 215 additional low-floor, CNG powered transit buses on an earlier contract to North American Bus Industries. The new addition, including spare parts, special tools and diagnostic equipment is valued at $69 million. The base order was for 215 buses awarded in the fall of 1998. The combined total of the two orders for 430 buses is approximately $137 million.
Buses from the initial order will begin arriving next month, with the second optional group to be delivered in spring of next year, according to NABI officials.
Bill Coryell, NABI’s vice president, sales, said, "This combined order for 430 buses is the largest in our company history. We are delighted with the faith placed in our company by the LACMTA and look forward to placing these low emission buses into service for the citizens of metropolitan Los Angeles."
The 215 extra buses comprise most of the plan for accelerating bus purchases to comply with recent court mandates. Late last year, the LACMTA board directed its staff to immediately initiate procurement and funding actions required to purchase 297 buses; 195 buses are to be purchased for delivery as soon as possible and 102 buses are to be delivered no later than June 30, 2002. The court also stipulated that any buses to be acquired under the decree must not take away any current or future funding from other municipal operators in Los Angeles County, which receive operating grants from the LACMTA.
The board resolution directing the authority to act had this curious admission: "Since the Board understands that it is impossible: (a) to meet the 30-day requirement to ‘obtain 248 buses on a temporary basis,’ and (b) to determine at this time whether to appeal any aspect of the Order until the contemplated further proceedings before the Special Master; the Board instructs the CEO, in consultation with legal counsel, to file a motion to stay the September 23 Order of the District Court and to file an appropriate notice of appeal."