- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Metro set to roll out 152 new buses
Hybrid-electrics offer more seats
Metro officials hope to improve rider satisfaction this month in part with the oddly appealing scent of glue and fresh plastic — otherwise known as that new-car smell — when they roll out 152 new buses.
Though roughly two feet shorter than existing buses in the transit agency’s fleet of 1,492, the new ones by Minnesota-based New Flyer, at a 40-passenger capacity, can seat several more people.
The new buses are hybrid-electric models and about 3,000 pounds lighter, “which can save a lot of money by increasing our mileage,” Jack Requa, a Metro assistant general manager, said Tuesday.
Each bus cost $571,737. Metro will pay for them with $879 million budgeted through 2016 in a capital improvement program for bus replacement and rehabilitation. The agency also will use $40.8 million in federal stimulus money.
The buses, known as Xcelsior XDE40s, also have better mirror placement and driver seats designed for comfort and optimal vision.
“It’s got better turning, and the seat can go all the way back,” said Metrobus driver Robert Miles, who has logged more than 3 million miles behind the wheel. “It’s more comfortable because I can adjust it.”
Mr. Miles also likes the new buses’ windows and mirrors, which are higher in the driver’s line of vision.
“I get a better view for my left turn,” he said. “And the bigger windows mean there are no blind spots.”
The new buses are also among the first to have LED headlights, which will improve driver vision, and five security cameras that record what happens inside the bus.
In addition, the new buses have a four-tier brake system and guards around the back wheels to minimize injuries if a passenger slips or falls getting on or off.
Safety has been an issue in recent years. In 2008, Metrobus driver Ronald Taylor struck and killed Bartlett Tabor of Alamo, Calif., as he rode in a taxi near Foggy Bottom. Mr. Taylor was arrested just last month on charges for negligent homicide. In October 2009, Northeast resident Stephanie Richardson, 61, was killed when she crossed into the path of an oncoming Metrobus after stepping off another bus.
“We’re trying to keep these buses as safe as possible,” said Robert Golden Jr., an assistant chief engineer of vehicles for Metro.
Inside the buses, polished metal gleams against the blue upholstered chairs and yellow hand loops for standing riders who cannot reach the overhead hand bar.
As the new buses are phased in throughout the year, roughly 200 Metro employees are routinely maintaining and reconditioning ones in the existing fleet.
“When a bus comes out of the overhaul it looks like a new bus,” said Metro general manager Richard Sarles during a tour of the agency’s Bladensburg and Landover maintenance facilities.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lenten season marks big business for seafood sector
- ACU at 50: Strong and looking ahead
- Ready for spring? D.C. cherry blossoms to bloom by mid-April
- MOVIE REVIEW: 'Son of God'
- Experts say immigrants are changing the U.S. religious landscape
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- EDITORIAL: As jobs vanish, Obama wants more of same
- Stolen European passports on Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again