October 26, 2010

Detroit agency buys hybrid rapid transit buses



SMART, Detroit's suburban bus service, has added two new hybrid-electric articulated buses to its fleet. The first of its kind in southeast Michigan, the new vehicles will help SMART accommodate riders along high-demand routes while helping cut emission.

Purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds, the 61-foot-long buses can accommodate up to 100 riders.

The new buses will be placed into service starting Nov. 1, after SMART drivers and maintenance staff has received the appropriate training. The vehicles will be added to routes during the times and along the segments where the ridership demand is extremely heavy.

The buses are manufactured by New Flyer, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The buses feature the standard SMART amenities, including bike racks, electronic farebox and wheelchair ramps.

SMART entered into a piggy-back agreement with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority which had an existing bus buy contract with New Flyer enabling SMART to receive the buses approximately nine months sooner.

In August 2009, SMART was awarded $20.3 million in ARRA grant funding for capital projects. Completed ARRA-funded projects include the new electronic fareboxes installed on all SMART fixed route buses.

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