It is good news that the city of Albuquerque has ordered 10 “clean diesel” buses from New Flyer of America for the disastrous $135 million Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project giving some hope that the bus route will even be used.
The 10 new buses are “clean diesel” powered buses that are 60-foot articulated buses and will cost at least $870,000 apiece for a base model and more as a result of upgrades.
ART was prematurely dedicated well over a year ago but major defects in the original buses ordered and delivered from the other manufacturer has rendered the bus line route useless.
The city ordered the return of the 15 original electric buses it had ordered from the Chinese manufacturer, Build Your Dreams (BYD).
The BYD electric buses had a price tag of $1.3 million each, but the city never paid the manufacturer because the buses never passed the Federal Transportation Administration required standards and tests.
The city and BYD have both threatened litigation against each other claiming financial damages.
The city was able to place the order for the 10 new buses with New Flyer because the company already provides buses for the existing Rapid Ride bus routes.
New Flyer was also one of the bidders for the ART bus contract.
The New Flyer buses have five doors with two on the left and three on the right, which will allow the buses to serve both the ART and Rapid Ride routes when necessary.
City officials have been in regular contact with the Federal Transportation Administration and have said the move from electric to diesel will not compromise any of the $75 million the agency has provided for ART.
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY
The pathetic truth is that the 10 new buses the city has now ordered are essentially the same type of buses that have been in use for at least 15 years along the existing Rapid Ride route on central.
The bus platforms constructed in the middle of central cannot be used by any of the city’s existing fleet of buses, and therefore the platforms will stay lighted and unused for at least another year, no doubt subject to vandalism and deterioration.
Once the new buses arrive for use, the center lane platforms are suppose to provide quicker on and off access for riders, but will still pose major disruption of traffic flows.
Left lane turns are prohibited and no longer exist along the bus line and have already caused accidents.
Most of the ART Bus Route has gone from two lanes east to west, to one lane east to west.
All the dedicated lanes for the buses have already been stripped and prepared, but will go unused thereby increasing traffic congestion and compounding confusion.
With respect to the 10 new buses ordered, call your bookie, place your bets, be positive, but do not hold your breath.
For more articles on ART Bus project see: