Accommodating growing ridership and keeping pace with equipment-replacement strategies in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Prior Lake and Maple Grove transit agencies have added Motor Coach Industries (MCI) Commuter Coaches to their fleets.
The two agencies, under the funding and coordination of Metropolitan Council Transit, serve commuters to and from Minneapolis. Prior Lake took delivery of one MCI Commuter Coach. Maple Grove Transit took delivery of three MCI Commuter Coaches last year and four more in March and has plans to add more to its fleet.
Based on the MCI D-Series, both agencies’ coaches are equipped with Cummins 2007 ISM engines and Allison B500 transmissions, along with Ricon wheelchair lifts, six-camera surveillance systems and Siemens Continental AVL voice annunciation/APC system. The Maple Grove coaches have six outlets for passenger electronics and laptops, and offer provisions for Sportworks bicycle racks. These are the agencies’ first MCIs.
Meanwhile, Houston-based Continental Bus Lines has put another new MCI J4500 coach into service, this time with American-themed graphics. The company purchased its first new coach, also a J4500, last year. Owner Jose Morales founded Continental in 2001 with a pre-owned MCI. In 10 years’ time, Morales has built his business to a fleet of eight motorcoaches, mostly later models.
Continental’s newest MCI J4500 comes equipped with a Cummins engine and MCI’s latest upgrades and options including plush leather seating, three-point passenger seat belts, Wi-Fi connectivity, in-motion Satellite TV and 110-volt outlets.
The coach’s eye-catching patriot graphics, designed by Turbo Images, pay tribute to Morales’ appreciation of the U.S.
Continental runs charters and tours throughout the continental U.S. and Canada. It has 15 employees, operates its own five-bay maintenance shop and can help fellow operators with repairs should they be traveling in the area.