The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will purchase 180 state-of-the-art articulated buses that are longer and equipped with pedestrian safety technology.
The MTA is looking to expand New York City Transit’s bus fleet to improve bus service citywide and prepare for enhancing service during the Canarsie Tunnel repairs.
Articulated buses, which are longer than regular 40-foot buses, have an accordion feature and can increase capacity on high-volume routes, helping to meet peak-service demand and reduce overcrowding without adding more buses on high-traffic city streets. Articulated buses also help reduce overall fleet operational costs by reducing the total number of miles driven by regular 40-foot buses and related maintenance costs for fewer buses.
The MTA Board voted to award two contracts totaling $150 million to New Flyer and Nova Bus for the wheelchair-accessible, low-floor, 60-foot articulated buses that will feature visibility improvements for bus operators and safety technology such as pedestrian turn warning systems. These buses will also be equipped with technology to allow NYC Transit’s in-house crews to quickly install traffic signal priority (TSP) equipment once the buses are delivered, as part of NYC Transit’s goal to equip the entire bus fleet with the speed-enhancing technology.
“The MTA is moving aggressively to update our fleet with reliable new buses that have the latest state-of-the-art technology,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said. “Whether it’s traffic signal priority, contactless payments, or conveniences like digital information screens and USB charging, these fully accessible buses are ready for the future.”
Customer amenities include digital information screens, Wi-Fi capability and USB charging ports, which are consistent with other new MTA buses. The buses are expected to be delivered from September 2018 to September 2019, replacing older 40- and 60-foot buses that have reached the end of their 12-year life-cycles.
New Flyer will provide 108 buses for a total of $90.1 million, and Nova Bus will provide 72 buses at a cost of $60 million. The split contract allowed MTA New York City Transit to negotiate more competitive pricing for the buses and allowed both companies to deliver the buses at a faster rate rather than a single firm providing all 180 buses.
The expedited delivery schedule is vital to NYC Transit’s alternative service plans during the Canarsie Tunnel repairs, which are scheduled for 15 months beginning April 2019. Transit’s mitigation plans, which are in development with local communities and NYC DOT which is responsible for the building of dedicated bus lanes and other street enhancements necessary for faster bus service, will include robust bus service for line customers traveling between Manhattan and Brooklyn with options for customers traveling to the Lower East Side or 14th Street.
New buses are part of the MTA’s initiative to revitalize bus operations, with plans for adding a total of 2,042 state-of-the-art new buses over five years. The new buses replace nearly 40 percent of the MTA’s current fleet and represent a $1.5 billion investment of Capital Program resources. The new buses included in the plan are already in service in all five boroughs, with new vehicles delivered continuously since 2016.