Washington, D.C.'s Metro paratransit service, MetroAccess, announced the addition of 207 new accessible vans that began arriving this month. The new vehicles will expand the fleet serving customers with disabilities by 50 vehicles (7%) while also retiring some of the oldest vehicles in the fleet.
The new vehicles have enhanced safety features, including improved LED lighting, rear cameras providing operators with a rearward-facing view when backing and a collision-avoidance system.
"By upgrading the MetroAccess fleet, we will be able to provide more reliable and comfortable service to our customers with disabilities," said Assistant GM, Access Services, Christian Kent.
The vans are manufactured by Ford with modifications performed by Transit Works in Akron, Ohio, at a total cost of $65,000 per vehicle. Equipped with fuel-efficient V-6 engines, the vans are projected to achieve up to 10% better fuel economy than the vans they replace. Metro projects nearly $200,000 in fuel savings for the transit agency in the first year, while also reducing the environmental impact.
The addition of the new vans will allow MetroAccess to retire 150 of the E-350 vans that are beyond their useful life having logged more than five years of service and traveled more than 200,000 miles.
All 207 new vehicles are expected to be in service by the end of the year.