Officials from Laketran, the regional public transportation system in Lake County, Ohio, and community representatives gathered earlier this month, to check out the clean, green, new commuter coach models making their debut on Park-n-Ride and Bus on Shoulder service into Cleveland.

With the largest federal investment in the history of the agency — $4.89 million in federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds — Laketran invested in 10 new clean-diesel MCI Commuter Coaches to replace 1998 MCI workhorse models about to go into retirement, plus four additional coaches are due to arrive in 2017.

“Public transit is the perfect solution to move people and at the same time improve air quality,” shared Grace Gallucci, executive director of Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the area’s MPO. “The CMAQ funds are to mutually achieve the goals of moving people, eliminating congestion, getting people to jobs, education, healthcare, and at the same time, remediating the existing air quality, or reducing emissions so we don’t contribute to worse air quality. Public transit scores the highest of all projects in the state relative to achieving those mutual goals.”

The new 40-foot coaches seat 47 in enviable comfort. Plush, forward-facing seats let passengers recline comfortably with plenty of legroom. Fitted with two exterior bike racks, the coaches also are equipped with a wheelchair lift, overhead storage compartments, electronic fare boxes and on-board security cameras.

Laketran delivered another green message at the unveiling — about saving green, that is. Riders who leave their cars at home save an estimated $1,244 a year in fuel costs and parking costs — not to mention automobile wear-and-tear — by hopping aboard. That’s the benefit of the latest clean-diesel engine technology with near-zero emissions on the MCI Commuter Coach models.

At the celebration at Laketran headquarters in Painesville Township, Ohio, Richard DeYoung, MCI’s regional vice president of new sales, conducted a “white handkerchief” test by attaching a handkerchief to the coach’s exhaust pipe to indicate how clean the emissions output is from clean-diesel coaches.

The new coaches will service 18 daily departures from nine Park-n-Ride locations connecting Lake County and downtown Cleveland. They will offer the Bus on Shoulder service on I-90/SR-2 westbound and eastbound shoulders when traffic is traveling less than 30 miles per hour.  

The new Laketran Commuter Coaches are expected to carry 175,000 commuters to and from Cleveland annually.

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