Friday, October 15, 2004

Metro Raises Technology Bar with Super-Sized Metro Liner

Bus Prototype Unveiled Today in North Hollywood

  • 200 Metro Liners to Operate on Metro Orange Line, Other High Ridership Corridors
  • (Los Angeles) – Metro officials gathered in North Hollywood today to showcase the first of 200 high-capacity Metro Liner buses, which will operate on many of L.A.’s busiest bus corridors and on the Metro Orange Line when it opens in 2005. The technologically sophisticated super-sized 60-ft. Metro Liner will be the first articulated bus to operate in Los Angeles in two decades.

    “The Metro Liner promises to take public transit in Los Angeles to a new level,” said Frank Roberts, Lancaster Mayor and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board Chair. “This vehicle is a head-turner and so impressive in person that I believe it will attract many new riders to the Metro System and provide our existing customers with service the likes of which they’ve never experienced.”

    Of the 200 Metro Liners, 22 will be deployed on the Metro Orange Line, a 14-mile exclusive transitway due to open in 2005. The Metro Orange Line will whisk passengers in approximately 40 minutes from Warner Center in the West San Fernando Valley to the line’s future North Hollywood Station, where passengers can make an easy connection to the Metro Red Line subway just across the street.

    “I anticipate the Metro Orange Line will be a huge success and central to that success will be the Metro Liner,” said Roger Snoble, Metro chief executive officer. “The Metro Liner will provide passengers with rail-like service in an attractive, aerodynamically designed vehicle that’s far from the bread-box design of the typical transit bus.”

    The remaining 178 Metro Liners will operate on many of Metro’s highest ridership corridors, including Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.

    “On our busiest bus lines, we’re already running at 80-second headways and still can’t keep up with demand,” said John Catoe, Deputy CEO of Metro. “The Metro Liner will give us greater capacity and its wider doors will make boarding and alighting much easier for our passengers.”

    Manufactured by North American Bus Industries in Anniston, Ala., the Metro Liner will be the first articulated bus to operate in Los Angeles in two decades. At 60 feet, the Metro Liner is 20 feet longer than the standard transit bus and seats 57 passengers, 45 percent more than the standard bus.

    "NABI has produced and delivered hundreds of articulated buses over the past decade, and thus has extensive experience with these highly specialized vehicles," said Bill Coryell, NABI Vice President of Sales. "However, it was the vision of Metro, in particular Roger Snoble, John Catoe and Metro's distinguished Board of Directors, that inspired and motivated NABI to proceed with the development of this dramatic new product, which constitutes a quantum step toward the future in high-capacity bus design."

    The 320 horsepower Cummins CNG (compressed natural gas)-powered engine was engineered from the ground up to run on CNG. Previously, most CNG engines were conversions of diesel engine designs. An “articulate joint,” or bellows, in the center of the bus allows the bus to “bend” as it negotiates curves and corners.

    “This is the most advanced transit vehicle ever introduced in North America,” said John Drayton, Metro’s vehicle acquisition manager. “It really is the biggest leap in styling and appearance inside and out that our industry has seen in over 30 years.”

    Two hundred Metro Liner buses, each one costing $633,000, are on order from NABI. Delivery of the first 30 vehicles is scheduled to be completed by June 2005 and the remaining 170 vehicles by June 2006.

    METRO-174


    photos: Metro/Deniz Durmas

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