Williamsburg Area Unveils New Bus Fleet
Date: July 22, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Richard Drumwright, Williamsburg Area Transport Public Transit Director
Phone: (757) 259-4114
Williamsburg Area Transport (WAT) is replacing its current fleet of older buses with ten new, low-floor buses from New Flyer Limited. These state-of-the-art buses are thirty- and thirty-five feet, the same length as current vehicles. We expect to place them into service in July/August and they have many features that should prove most favorable:
- The low-floor curb height bus eliminates bus steps so that disabled and elderly can easily board and depart.
- A kneeling feature with extended ramp that can be run by drivers from their seat for wheelchair users.
- An override manual system if the hydraulic ramp extension fails for wheelchair users.
- Special signage at front, side, and rear with large lettering that is coordinated with audio system announcing stops internally and externally to the bus for the visually and hearing impaired.
- Electric fare system that allows magnetic automatic pass in lieu of exact change or cash.
- Safety sensitive doors that will immediately stop closing when struck by a foreign object, such as a passenger's leg or arm.
- A fire suppression system that is engaged if the engine compartment reaches a certain temperature.
- Extended warranty for five years for major sub-systems such as engine, transmission, and suspension.
George A. Marsh Jr., Chair of the Peninsula Disabilities Service Board, who recently completed sensitivity training for the disabled and elderly with all Williamsburg Area Transport Drivers, is excited about these features and feels that they will have a positive impact on the disabled citizens of the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and the Bruton District of York County, all served by Williamsburg Area Transport.
Richard Drumwright, Transit Director, is hopeful that these buses will generate excitement as Williamsburg Area Transport continues to implement phases of its Long-Range Plan.
Through partnerships with, Blacksburg Transit, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and the Federal Transit Administration, WAT was able to obtain these buses for $270,000 each, or $2.7 million dollars in total, without requiring local funds. WAT obtained a competitive Surface Transportation Program Grant through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission that enabled WAT to obtain eighty percent of the funding necessary to procure these vehicles from the Federal Transit Administration and the remaining twenty percent from the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. With Federal Transit Administration guidance, WAT participated in a joint procurement with Blacksburg Transit that resulted in a very competitive response from bus manufacturers weighted toward vehicle performance lifetime expectations and not just cost. We are most pleased with this partnership and with their assistance have capital to meet the challenges of the future.
Support from New Flyer Limited has been excellent as we ready these buses for service. These vehicles are also expected to have a minimum life of 12 years or 500,000 miles.