Big Blue Bus (BBB) has announced its next phase of fleet upgrades, which include new amenities that enhance comfort, safety, and security for both customers and Motor Coach Operators, and further reduce vehicle emissions.
BBB will invest $18.3M in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and California Proposition 1B Bond funds to replace fifty (50) 40-foot New Flyer buses purchased between 2004 and 2006. Seven (7) 30-foot Gillig buses will be placed in service this week; an additional twenty (20) 40-foot Gillig buses will be delivered and commissioned in October 2018. The agency plans to commission an additional twenty-three (23) 40-foot Gillig buses by December 2019.
“We are making a significant investment to modernize one quarter of our fleet with new and exciting technology that will deliver a safer, more comfortable travel experience for customers and operators,” said Ed King, Director of Transit Services. “Further, reshaping our fleet with smaller, more agile 30-foot vehicles will create new opportunities for ridership growth by enabling us to safely and efficiently serve customers on narrower streets and corridors. The fleet enhancements are part of a larger series of strategic improvements we will roll out over the next 12-18 months.”
BBB customers can expect to see the following improvements on board the new fleet:
- Sustainability: Buses will be equipped with Cummins-Westport Near-Zero engines and fueled by Renewable Natural Gas, to further reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) vehicle emissions over 90% by December 2018.
- Passenger Awareness Monitor: A new 10-inch monitor will display a live feed from a security camera mounted near the front door. The monitor will enable customers to see themselves when boarding the bus, which will help increase safety and security for both customers and Operators, and deter crime and vandalism. The monitor will be integrated with the digital video recording (DVR) system on each bus, which consists of 14 cameras, located in both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
- Wheelchair Securement: Buses will employ an ADA compliant, three-point securement system called the “Q-POD.” Its simplified operation will allow for quicker wheelchair securement times, reduced vehicle dwell time, and increased passenger comfort and safety. The system will also help reduce injuries caused by repetitive, labor-intensive processes.
- Retractable Seating: Located near the Q-POD will be two (2) forward-facing seats that can be stowed in an upward position, allowing customers to safely store carts, strollers, suitcases, and other bulky items, while keeping the aisle clear.
- Destination Signs: New silver LED destination signs are brighter and will be more visible to customers, especially in low-light conditions.
- Electric Assist Power Steering: A new power steering system will make vehicles easier to maneuver for Operators, while reducing fatigue and enhancing customer safety. The system uses a smaller handwheel for greater comfort, and sensors to respond intelligently to changing vehicle and environmental conditions.
- Slip Resistant Flooring: Buses will also feature durable and slip resistant flooring that allows for increased safety and easy maintenance.
The average age of BBB’s current fleet is less than 7 years old, outpacing an industry best practice of 8.5 years.