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New York City Transit to Add 180 New State-of-the-Art Articulated Buses

Rendering of new MTA bus prototype
Rendering of new MTA bus prototype

Modern new buses with room for more customers are coming to the MTA.   

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board voted Wednesday to purchase 180 state-of-the-art articulated buses equipped with pedestrian safety technology and modern customer amenities to increase the capacity of New York City Transit’s bus fleet. 

The MTA Board voted to award two contracts totaling $150 million to New Flyer and Nova Bus for the wheelchair-accessible, low-floor, 60-foot articulated buses. The split contract allowed MTA New York City Transit to negotiate more competitive pricing for the buses and allowed both companies to deliver the buses faster than a single firm providing all 180 buses. These buses will feature visibility improvements for bus operators and safety technology such as pedestrian turn warning systems. These buses will also be equipped with technology that allows NYC Transit’s in-house crews to quickly install traffic signal priority (TSP) equipment once the buses are delivered. NYC Transit is dedicated to equipping the entire bus fleet with the speed-enhancing technology to help speed customers' commutes safely and efficiently. 

Customer amenities include digital information screens, Wi-Fi capability and USB charging ports, which are consistent with other new MTA buses. The buses are expected to be delivered from September 2018 to September 2019, replacing older 40- and 60-foot buses that have reached the end of their 12-year life-cycles.

“The MTA is moving aggressively to update our fleet with reliable new buses that have the latest state-of-the-art technology. Whether it’s traffic signal priority, contactless payments, or conveniences like digital information screens and USB charging, these fully accessible buses are ready for the future," MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said.  

Articulated buses, which are longer than regular 40-foot buses, contain an accordion feature and can increase capacity on high-volume routes, helping to meet peak-service demand and reduce overcrowding without adding more buses on high-traffic city streets. Articulated buses also help reduce overall fleet operational costs by reducing the total number of miles driven by regular 40-foot buses and related maintenance costs for fewer buses. 

The expedited delivery schedule is vital to NYC Transit’s alternative service plans during the Canarsie L Subway Tunnel repairs, which are scheduled for 15 months beginning April 2019. Transit’s mitigation plans, which are being developed with local communities and NYC DOT, will include robust bus service for L Subway line customers traveling between Manhattan and Brooklyn with options for customers traveling to the Lower East Side or 14th Street. NYC DOT is responsible for the building of dedicated bus lanes and other street enhancements necessary for faster bus service. 

New buses are part of the MTA’s initiative to revitalize bus operations. Plans are in the works to add a total of 2,042 state-of-the-art new buses over five years. The new buses replace nearly 40 percent of the MTA’s current fleet and represent a $1.5 billion investment of Capital Program resources. The new buses included in the plan are already in service in all five boroughs, with new vehicles delivered continuously since 2016. 

Rendering of new MTA bus prototype