- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
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 email@example.com.
- No rest for the retired: Cardinal McCarrick on a mission for peace in Africa
- The sun also rises on Easter in the District
- Higher Ground: Colbert the Catholic
- Feeling taxed today? How about a prayer to St. Matthew?
- 'Matzah Factory' provides hands-on experience for learning about Passover
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- WILLIAMS: Bill Maher, comedian or bigot?
- NYT's David Brooks: Obama has 'manhood problem' in Middle East
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.