October 18, 2010

Florida county builds rural transit bus, may sell to national market


With local support, the low-floor Brevi Bus was designed to be shorter, more maneuverable, more rugged and more accessible to those with disabilities.


A new bus engineered and built in Putnam County, Fla., was unveiled last week. U.S. Congressman John Mica (R-FL) joined residents, local leaders and state representatives for the first public presentation and roll out of the new transit vehicle designed to service rural communities and special-needs passengers. 

Rep. Mica told the Palatka Daily News that although he has been critical of the stimulus and deficit spending, this project does not fall into either of those categories. Money for the project, amounting to $3 million, came from federal gas taxes. To read additional reporting on the new vehicle, click here.

In 2003, Putnam County sought to update their vehicle fleet, which contained 10 aging buses. Their last new bus purchase occurred in 1989 and some vehicles had more than 500,000 miles of use. 

In 2005, Rep. Mica was successful in securing first-ever federal support for new Putnam Ride Solution buses. However, after an extensive search, Putnam County failed to locate a vehicle that met its needs. More than 50 percent of the county roads were unpaved, so a large bus or traditional passenger vehicle would not meet local requirements.

The county made the decision at that time to pursue development of a locally engineered vehicle. A special congressional waiver was needed and finally obtained in 2008 to allow for the research and development of this new vehicle. With local support, the low-floor Brevi Bus was designed to be shorter, more maneuverable, more rugged and more accessible to those with disabilities. 

"The resulting Brevi Bus is a great success and a testament to the ingenuity and vision of our residents," Congressman Mica said.  "Like Putnam County, many rural areas have many unpaved roads which still need access to public transportation, and these new Brevi Buses will fill this unique local and national need. Maybe most exciting is that there are plans to manufacture these buses in Putnam County."

To read morea bout the Brevi Bus project, click here.

 METRO TV: To watch a video demonstration of the Brevi Bus, click here.

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