Metro takes delivery of first bus with USB chargers

Bring your chargers! Photos by LA Metro.

Metro has taken delivery of the first of 295 40-foot buses ordered from the manufacturer El Dorado (of Riverside) in 2016. The feature that I’m guessing will most interest you: the buses come equipped with a pair of USB ports between each seats, meaning you can ride while charging your smartphone or tablet.

The bus will be run through the paces in testing in the immediate future with the rest of the bus order to follow next year — so it will be a while until they’re in service.

A few other nice features on the new buses: three-bike racks, built-in WiFi, a near zero emission compressed natural gas engine, a self-leveling wheelchair ramp and LED interior lighting.

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20 replies

  1. Why is LACMTA, the third largest bus system in the USA, getting these cheap plastic ElDorado buses? Just look at them, the huge plastic stop buttons, the tacky interior, and the lack of stop cord. Seriously, you should cancel this order and buy Gillig buses, which actually have quality instead of wasting money on these things that won’t even last 5 years. WTF

    • atransitfan2233: As a former bus operator who not only worked for the RTD/LACMTA and Capital Metro in Austin TX, I can tell you that Gillig transit buses are terrible. They have lousy king pins and are more prone to “dog-track” than other buses. Gilligs also leak terribly and are very prone to engine fumes coming into the interior. Gillig only markets to small and medium-sized bus companies because those sized companies don’t have the ability to scrutinize over every nut and bolt of a particular bus. In Austin, the best buses Capital Metro acquired were made by New Flyer. They also have a fleet of MCI buses for their commuter routes. When I worked for the RTD and LACMTA, my favorite bus to drive was the 3300-3400 series Neoplan, followed by the 2000 series TMCs. When Division 7 had them, I liked the 9200-9250 series articulated buses. I knew they were on borrowed time, but they definitely commanded a presence on Wilshire Blvd at the time. I’m sure we all have our preferences, but Gilligs won’t pass muster with Metro. I’m surprised about the El Dorados being selected.

      • You do realize that those issues are usually caused by specifications that the buyer indicated, also due to lousy maintenance. Gillig are KNOWN to be top notch, better than rattly and swaying Xcelsiors. Also I may add LACMTA almost got Gillig instead of the cheap Junkcelsiors but back in 2014 Gillig was still in their old Hayward factory and couldn’t produce buses as fast. Since they are now in a larger facility, their focus is now all size transit systems. They can produce buses faster than New Flyer now….

  2. Great idea. Little things like this can add up for a better riding experience.

  3. Alright. How do we find these? What yard will they be based out of? Who wants to go on a #TransitOrientedAdventure to check these out????.

  4. So I’m assuming all these will be standard on the next gen Articulated Buses?

  5. USB chargers?? I hope the rest of the bus is better designed than the slap-dash or is it slip-shod look of that charger gizmo.

  6. I’m surprised that Metro bought vehicles from El Dorado. Fair warning about their fitment quality. They will rattle apart within a year. It’s a shame that Neoplan no longer exists. Or Flxible. Heck, even GMC/TMC made very good buses.

  7. USB charging outlets are a great idea! Not everyone can go a whole day without charging their phone, bus riders especially.

  8. The stop request button looks even harder to reach. What happened to the strings along the window?

    • Many of us senior citizens have difficulty reaching for those strings along the window. For us the stoo buttoms work more easily and perfectly.

  9. It would be better if AC outlets are provided because USB charging technology gets outdated quickly. USB charging technology keeps evolving from the most basic 0.5A, 1A, 2A, to at most 2.4A @ 5V; there are newer USB charging standards that allow faster charging (like Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging) which increases the voltage for compatible devices to allow 50% charge within 30 minutes. If the buses being delivered output an older USB power standard, expect longer charging time for future power-hungry phones.

    • I don’t think that’s the point of this though. Also, do you honestly think that’s going to make a difference here? It took me 2 hours to get from Santa Monica to Silver Lake via Rapid yesterday (yup, only one bus), so I think even at 2.4A it’ll be just fine for a smartphone.

  10. You kidding me? Nearly the entire fleet of 780 buses are falling apart and we’re talking about USB chargers? I can care less, I just want to ride in a bus that won’t give me back pain because it doesn’t have any shocks.

    • Well it is a new bus. The shocks should be new too. And another note, thank goodness for more stop buttons. It’s weird to have to reach over people on a rush-hour bus just to push a button.