Metro staff proposes buying 550 new 40-foot CNG buses

New Bus Purchase staff report by

Metro buses rack up a lot of miles and need to be replaced at regular intervals. The above Metro staff report proposes the purchase of 550 40-foot buses powered by compressed natural gas from New Flyer, which is based in Winnipeg and has manufacturing facilities in Minnesota.

It’s a big contract, valued at $302 million — about $549,000 per bus. The buses will be replacing vehicles that have been in service for at least 12 years and have more than 500,000 miles on them.

11 replies

  1. I thought this was already done? Does this mean all those 5000 numbered 1990’s buses will finally disappear? Or just the constanty breaking-down 7000 numbered buses?

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  2. It is a pity that California’s own Gillig Corporation does not bid on these contracts. It would be nice to ride in an actual California-built bus instead of the Canadian and Hungarian buses this contract had to choose from.

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    • The Canadian firm has manufacturing facilities in Minnesota, which last time I checked was neither part of Canada or Hungary — with all due respect to both those fine nations.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

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  3. Bidder #1, New Flyer is a Canadian company headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Flyer_Industries

    Bidder #2, North American Bus Industries is a joint U.S.-Hungarian company with headquarters in Anniston, Alabama…

    http://www.nabusind.com/about-north-american-bus.htm

    …ad Budapest, Hungary:

    http://en.nabi.hu/index.php

    however the majority of the bus manufacture takes place in Kaposvar, Hungary as shown in this presentation by LA Metro’s Richard Hunt:

    http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2009/09_September/20090902OtherSectorSFVItem6.pdf

    NABI is currently owned by Cerebus Capital, which has been in the news lately:

    http://www.pri.org/stories/business/cerberus-capital-management-removes-investment-in-gun-conglomerate-12424.html

    Assembly, which is not the same thing as “Manufacturing” is done in the USA to satisfy “Buy America” requirements, but profits from these contracts return to the headquarters of these companies, none of which are in California, as is Gillig Corp.

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  4. Remember, folks, buses don’t last very long. Remember this when you’re proposing “BRT”. Lowball initial costs, and then you have to replace the buses after 12 years. The trains generally last 30 years, so in high-traffic corridors, *LRT is cheaper* in the long run.

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  5. I would love to see New Flyrers around here OCTA has them. When I lived in the OC for a couple of years 99-01 those buses seemed to be better built compared to the Nabi buses we have here 45C. It seems the nabis always have enging trouble or some other mechanical issue. I saw some pics on the internet of a couple of nabis that caught on fire one was on the orange line “9213” if not mistaken and a “45C” What a surprise that was a newer bus. Just yesterday I saw a 60ft nabi on the orange line being towed. I wish Neoplan was still around those buses seemed to be well built also and I don’t recall hearing those buses ever catching on fire at least in the LACMTA I could be wrong.

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  6. @Nathanael: I don’t exactly remember, but I think the Orange Line buses needed an overhaul after 4 years because of the high ridership, which means that their useful life will be 8 years. Over 30 years, 11 buses = 1 rail car. Maybe that is what Metro is referring to when they say BRT Economic Stimulus.

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