ARBOC Specialty Vehicles LLC, a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., announced its Spirit of Equess® passed the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Model Bus Testing Program at Altoona, Pennsylvania.
With its successful completion, the Spirit of Equess becomes the first and only medium-duty transit bus to complete Altoona Testing, which thoroughly assesses the dependability of all new bus models for use in federally-funded public transit systems procurement. This follows recent NFI subsidiary breakthroughs, where Motor Coach Industries (MCI) announced its all-new, fully-accessible MCI D45 CRT LE completed Altoona Testing; and where the New Flyer of America Inc.’s 60-foot articulated heavy-duty transit bus became the first and only bus of its kind to complete FTA’s Altoona Testing.
The Equess underwent seven months of testing, simulating a 10-year, 350,000-mile service life. According to Barry Hines, VP, engineering, the test was set for slightly under the model’s full gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. to equal a real-life load of seated and standing passengers.
The Spirit of Equess is ARBOC’s medium-duty, low-floor transit and shuttle bus constructed on a purpose-built ARBOC chassis. While the bus is a new concept, it was constructed using industry-proven methods.
Today, ARBOC manufactures five different products with numerous variants, all either having successfully completed Altoona Testing or having received an official waiver from the FTA.
The Altoona test on the Equess began in January of 2018 and concluded in August. ARBOC plans to return to the test track with both a 35-foot and electric alternatives of the new design.
The ADA- and Buy America-compliant ARBOC Spirit of Equess, currently available in diesel or compressed natural gas propulsions, offers many of the capabilities of a heavy-duty bus, but retains all the benefits of a mid-level vehicle. The air-suspension system allows the bus to “kneel” 3.5 inches, creating a 1:8 ramp slope that can easily be maneuvered by passengers using mobility aids, such as wheelchairs or power scooters.