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.
Each bus also has two Q-pods where wheel chairs can be secured in either forward or rear-facing positions. There are newly designated seats for seniors or others with mobility impairments, including a place to stow a walker.
The New Flyer has a more efficient air conditioning system, larger windows and video monitoring system that can be downloaded wireless to law enforcement, if necessary.
The buses are manufactured by New Flyer of St. Cloud, Minn. The Metro Board in January approved a $302-million contract to purchase 550 buses from New Flyer along with contract options that could boost the total to 900 buses (staff report here). The new buses are part of a program to replace buses that were purchased between 1998 and 2001 and that have 500,000-plus miles on them.
The first of the new buses are scheduled to appear in the Metro fleet in early 2014.