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LI Bus Orion VII NG article

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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 213

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:03 pm    Post subject: LI Bus Orion VII NG article Reply with quote

Already old news to us but here's a Newsday article:


LI Bus rolls out fleet of 100 greener vehicles
8:53 PM EDT, July 12, 2009

Introducing the new Long Island Bus: It's sleeker, greener, more high-tech and a little less colorful.

Long Island Bus has rolled out 100 new state-of-the art buses, replacing nearly one-third of the agency's aging fleet, including some buses that were nearly 15 years old and had logged a half-million miles, officials said.

The Orion VII buses, priced at about $400,000 each, were purchased using a combination of grant money from the Federal Transit Administration and funds from New York State and Nassau County. Nassau owns LI Bus, but has been embroiled for years in a dispute with the state and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the agency, over who is responsible for funding it.

"We've said for years that Long Island Bus is underfunded," said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, who has sampled the new buses and offered rave reviews. "This shows how small investments in our bus system can lead to substantial improvements for riders."

A number of changes

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi said the addition of the new buses is "a significant milestone," especially noting the increased fuel efficiency of the 100-percent compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.

The buses feature a number of immediate changes and improvements over the Orion V buses that have been the standard for several years. Perhaps the most noticeable change is not what's been added to the new LI Buses, but what's been taken away - any hint of orange.

Gone is the trademark orange, blue and white color scheme that had been a staple of LI Bus since 1980. In its place is a simpler blue and white pattern.

LI Bus president Joseph Smith said the motivation behind the change was twofold: First, it was a small step in the MTA's efforts to integrate its various bus agencies into a seamless network. Second, "It costs less to paint two colors than three," said Smith.

Common-sense approach

That common-sense approach is behind a lot of the new features. Among them: larger windows for increased visibility; more standing room; a simple ramp replacing the unreliable hydraulic wheelchair lift; an automatic sensor replacing tape strips to open rear doors; a brightly lit electronic sign identifying the bus that replaces the dimly lit flip-dot display; and long-lasting interior LED lights replacing the standard fluorescent lights.

"Listen, at the end of the day a bus is never going to be sexy. So we try to design a bus to make it as . . . maintenance-free for us because we have to live with the bus for the next 12 years," said Smith, referring to the standard life of a bus.

The most radical change may not be apparent until you step onto the new bus. It's a lot easier to do so. The "low floor bus" is designed to allow riders to board without climbing steps.

That design has been on some buses at the MTA's two other bus companies - NYC Transit and MTA Bus - for 10 years. Smith, who heads up those agencies, said it has proved to significantly reduce lag time at bus stations because passengers can get on and off much more easily.

'Win-win' for customers

LI Bus officials say the improvements that riders cannot see are equally impressive. The buses emit 90 percent less harmful particulate matter and 96 percent less nitrogen oxide and are in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's 2010 emission standards. The agency first started running natural gas buses in 1992, and completed the conversion of its fleet in 2004.

"It's a win-win for our customers," said interim MTA Chief Helena Williams, a former LI Bus president.

Improved engineering ensures a smoother and quieter ride and better acceleration, said Smith, who had all bus drivers receive about an hour of training on the new vehicles.

The new buses, manufactured by upstate Oriskany-based Orion Bus Industries, began arriving on the LI Bus lot earlier this year, after months of delays and technological kinks.

The new buses got their biggest test to date during last month's U.S. Open golf tournament, where they shuttled 174,000 golf fans.

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N4 Jamaica

Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 577
Location: Long Island

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anyone would like this page out of today's print Newsday, please send me a private message on this site. N4 Jamaica
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