San Diego MTS to Purchase 515 CNG Buses Through 2017

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (SDMTS) Board of Directors has approved two major bus procurements.  The Board authorized the CEO to purchase up to 350 Gillig 40-foot low-floor compressed natural gas (CNG) buses and up to 165 New Flyer 60-foot low-floor articulated CNG buses through 2017. At the end of the contracts, more than 95 percent of SDMTS buses will run on clean CNG.
The total value of the contracts, if all options are exercised and future funding is available, is in excess of $343 million, inclusive of sales tax, licenses, fees and delivery.

“This is significant for MTS in many ways,” said SDMTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski. “This puts us on pace to retire the last of our diesel buses from our urban fleet by the end of our contracts. It allows us to launch with SANDAG new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Service in 2014. It is also significant to the people of our state as more than half of this contract will be spent with Gillig, which manufactures buses in Hayward, California.”

SDMTS will take delivery of 50 40-foot buses in 2013 and it is anticipated that at least 50 additional buses will be ordered over the following four years for a total of 250 40-foot buses. These buses will be used to replace buses at the end of their useful lives. The contract also allows for an option to purchase an additional 100 buses over the life of the contract to accommodate potential needs due to increased ridership and/or service expansion.

The Gillig buses include on-board video surveillance inside and outside the vehicle, new wheelchair restraint systems, disk brakes, CNG tanks with 20-year lifespans, and enhanced cooling systems.

Funding for the Gillig buses is from federal dollars allocated to transit agencies for capital improvement projects. The total value of the contract with Gillig, if options are exercised, is $184 million. The contract includes $100,000 for spare parts. All future purchases are subject to funding availability.

The first 47 of the 60-foot articulated buses manufactured by New Flyer will be delivered by early 2014. These buses, along with 25 buses delivered in Fiscal Year 2015, will be purchased via SANDAG with federal and TransNet funds. They will be utilized for Bus Rapid Transit services on I-15, I-805 and mid-city.

The 72 New Flyer buses for BRT services will include high-back chairs with thick cushions, an intelligent network system to diagnose engine performance, automatic enunciators for next stop information, signal priority equipment, 20-year CNG tanks, on-board camera system and new wheel-chair restraint systems.

SDMTS will take delivery on 13 New Flyer buses in Fiscal year 2016 to replace diesel-powered buses that are at the end of their useful life. They will be funded through the MTS bus replacement capital improvement project. The contract includes an option for up to 80 additional buses to accommodate system growth.

The total contract from New Flyer, with options, is valued at $159.5 million. It includes $100,000 for spare parts. All future purchases are subject to funding availability.

MTS operates more than 90 bus routes and three Trolley lines. Every day more than 275,000 passenger trips are taken on MTS services.

This article was first published by NGV Global News.


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