The Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) Board of Directors approved the purchase of 53 new 40-foot, low-floor compressed natural gas buses and it authorized MTS to exercise an option to purchase seven more low-floor trolleys.
The New Flyer buses, which included all required Americans with Disabilities Act equipment, will cost $22.3 million. Delivery of the buses will be from May through August. Thirty-one of the buses will operate out of the MTS bus yard on Imperial Avenue and 22 will operate out of the South Bay Maintenance facility in Chula Vista. MTS will retire old buses that have reached the end of their useful lives.
The option to buy seven low-floor trolleys from Siemens Industry, Inc., based in Sacramento, is in addition to the 57 low-floor cars already on order. MTS began taking delivery on these in September of 2011. The total cost for the seven light rail vehicles is $26.9 million. The vehicles are 80-feet long, seat 60 passengers and feature easy access boarding for wheelchairs, pushcarts and strollers via ramps.
Upon delivery of all cars in 2014, every train in the system will operate with at least two low-floor cars. This will make boarding of the trolleys easier for all passengers and eliminate delays associated with the deployment of a mechanical lift in high-floor cars for people with mobility devices.
MTS is retiring its fleet of U-2 high-floor trolley cars that it began purchasing in 1980. Many of these cars have traveled more than 2 million miles and carried more than 9 million passengers. Eleven of the U-2 Cars have been sold to the Mendoza Provence of Argentina. Negotiations are underway for the sale of the remaining 60 U-2 vehicles.
MTS operates 53 miles of double-tracked light rail and a bus network of more than 90 fixed routes. It is on pace to generate more than 90 million trips in the fiscal year ending June 30.