To accommodate growing demand, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in New Orleans and Veolia Transportation have put more than one hundred Daimler Buses North America Orion buses on the streets, covering its 180-square-mile service area and meeting the spike in ridership demand.
The transit agency's ridership has grown exponentially since 2009, Justin Augustine, vice president, Veolia Transportation, said, due to many former New Orleans residents returning after leaving because of Hurricane Katrina and greater demand for public transportation from that population. In 2010, ridership jumped 18.5 percent with an increase of 6.5 percent in revenue hours, according to an RTA ridership report.
The transit agency came up with the new vehicle design when it recently went through a rebranding campaign led by the RTA board of commissioners and implemented by the local and national marketing department of Veolia Transportation, the delegated management company of the RTA.
The RTA and Veolia received 39 Orion buses in 2008 and 75 in 2010, totaling 114 vehicles. The new vehicles are being used in active fixed-route service.
Selected through a competitive bid process, the vehicles are ADA-accessible and environmentally sustainable, using a 5 percent biodiesel blend.
"The buses are used in fixed-route service and allow us to provide efficient and reliable service to the citizens of New Orleans," Augustine said.