New WRTA Buses to Roll into Worcester
WORCESTER _ The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) is updating its fleet with 8 new Gillig buses that will hit the streets in late March. The new buses will replace 8 older buses that will retire once the buses are actively on the roadways. The current age of the fleet is 8.2 years, according to WRTA Administrator Stephen O’Neil, making it necessary to change out some of the oldest buses.
“Once the 8 new buses are put into service, the average age of the fleet will be 5.7 years,” O’Neil said, adding that this is right in line with the optimum industry standard of six years.
That decrease in age will mean a more efficient fleet that is lower in emissions (30-40 percent lower than conventional diesel buses), quieter in operation, lower in maintenance costs, efficiently powered by a biodiesel blend, and could offer a fuel savings of anywhere from 20 – 45 percent.
“One of the key differences in these new buses is that they have a safer, environmentally-friendly electric fan drive that will improve the miles per gallon even more than those in our current fleet,” said RTA Transit Services General Manager John Carney.
The WRTA’s eight new buses include one 40-foot low-floor diesel; one 40-foot low-floor hybrid; four 35-foot low-floor diesels; and two 35-foot low-floor hybrids. The 35-foot buses can seat 32 passengers, and the 40-foot buses can seat 38 passengers.
Costs for each of the new buses are as follows: 40-foot low-floor diesel $401,219; 40-foot low-floor hybrid $593,572; 35-foot low-floor diesel $396,208; and 35-foot low-floor hybrid at $588,561.
Additionally, one of the benefits of the new 35-foot Gillig buses is that they will have the ability to travel on certain routes that were inaccessible to the 40-foot buses due to the vehicle’s turning radius.
“We’ll now be able to better accommodate neighborhoods that were unable to be reached by our bigger 40-footers,” O’Neil said.
According to WRTA officials, a total of 15 additional Gillig buses will be procured to replace some of the fleet’s older buses within the next two years.
“Our goal is to bring state-of-the art technology to our entire fleet for both our riders and drivers, providing them with optimum safety and service. We are also working very hard to continue to improve as stewards to our environment through the use of greener initiatives,” O’Neil said.