Other actions taken Thursday by the Metro Board of Directors

It was a mostly quiet agenda, but these three items may be of interest:

•Item 20. The Board approved a motion by Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas to provide $2.8 million in funding to continue environmental studies and planning work for a walking and bike path on the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way that Metro owns. The path would run between the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Florence/West Station and the Los Angeles River. The project is not funded at this time. Several Board Members said that they hoped to attract funding by further refining plans for such a project. Here’s more information from a Source post earlier this year.

•Item 7. The Metro Board adopted a Complete Streets policy. Metro doesn’t manage or maintain streets in our area — that’s up to local cities and the county in unincorporated areas. But there are some types of project in which Metro can influence what gets done to roadways and this policy is designed to ensure that safety, pedestrian, cycling and environmental improvements are considered by the agency in conjunction with those projects. Metro staff report

•Item 40. The Board approved a contract amendment with New Flyer to add two video monitors on the final 128 buses on order from the firm. The monitors can show images captured by cameras on board the buses — the idea is to remind Metro bus riders that security cameras are installed on the buses and criminal acts will likely be caught on video at multiple angles. Metro staff report


New Flyer holds open house for new bus facility in Ontario

New Flyer opened a new bus service facility in Ontario earlier this year, creating more than 50 new local jobs. The facility helps to support delivery and maintenance service of the 550 buses ordered by Metro.

The buses are built in the manufacturing plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Once they are approximately 80 percent to 90 percent complete, they make the 2,200-mile trek from St. Cloud to Ontario. The drive acts as a “breaking in” and helps New Flyer perform final testing and performance evaluation before the buses are sent into service. At the Ontario facility, buses undergo final build–i.e. the installation of seats, support rails and decals as well as testing and safety acceptance. They are then handed over to the operating agency.

The facility has already finished and delivered 66 buses, many of them Metro buses that are already in service on the streets of L.A.

Metro debuts next generation bus today

Metro debuted the first of 550 New Flyer buses this morning. The New Flyer buses will be replacing the remaining high floor buses, thus making Metro a 100 percent low-floor fleet. Additionally, the buses will eventually replace all coaches built between 1999 and 2001, which will result in a much younger fleet that can continue to provide reliable service for Metro bus riders.

The Metro Board in January 2013 approved a $308-million contract for 550 new buses, which will be delivered over the next 18 months. One particular focus of Metro staff was making the buses as ADA-compliant and safe as possible and some of the new features of the new buses include the Q’Pod wheelchair securement system, which better accommodates passengers in wheelchairs. Each bus is also equipped with a new video monitoring system that can be downloaded wireless to law enforcement, if necessary.

The first buses will be put in service in areas of Los Angeles County served by Division 5 in South Los Angeles, Division 7 in West Hollywood and Division 18 in Carson. One of the new buses is also running today only along the 33 line that serves Venice Boulevard. 

Next generation bus on display this morning at Union Station


A look inside a new Metro bus. Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday toured one of the next-generation buses that will be soon part of the agency’s fleet while also expressing thanks to agency staff for their efforts to improve transit access for mobility-impaired passengers.

Mayor Garcetti met with General Manager of Transit Capital Programs Richard Hunt and Andrew Janicki of Metro’s Civil Rights Division to demonstrate features that make the New Flyer bus a step forward over current models.

Metro has installed industry-leading improvements that go beyond requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The boarding ramp has an angle of 7 to 1, instead of the ADA required 6 to 1, meaning the new ramps won’t be as steep as the current ones.

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Other actions taken today by the Metro Board of Directors: contract to buy new buses, TVMs for El Monte Station

Here are a few other items of interest tackled at today’s meeting of the full Metro Board of Directors:

•The Board approved a $302-million contract with New Flyer of America for the purchase of 550 new 40-foot buses powered by compressed natural gas. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved a contract modification up to $610,000 with Cubic Transportation Systems for the purchase and installation of four ticket vending machines for the El Monte Transit Center. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved a series of contract modifications totaling about $13.5 million with outside firms, including URS Corporation, for continued work on the I-710 South Corridor Project’s environmental studies. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved giving Metro the authority to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with three developers seeking to build a mixed-use project that would partially occupy Metro-owned land adjacent to the Red Line’s Vermont/Sunset Station. Staff report (pdf)

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.