City Buys Buses To Replace Aging Franchise Fleet
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Peter S. Kalikow have announced the purchase of 125 new buses for the MTA Bus Company, the company that will one day replace the present franchise lines that service Rockaway – Green Bus, Jamaica Bus and Triboro Transit.
The $80 million capital expenditure, which includes upgrading existing buses and depots, is the first step toward replacing the antiquated fleet that is used today and is another step forward in the MTA and City’s pledge to improve operations in the areas currently served by the City’s franchised bus companies. The average age of the bus fleet operated by the private companies is over twelve years old, as compared to the New York City Transit Authority’s fleet, which is less than seven years old.
“After enduring years of poor and unreliable service, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for New Yorkers who rely upon franchise bus service,” said Mayor Bloomberg.
“Today’s agreement to purchase 125 new buses is another service improvement that MTA operations will make possible. With the purchase of these buses riders will begin to get the reliable service that they deserve”
As a result of unanimous approval by the MTA Capital Program Review Board, $80 million will be allocated from the Authority’s existing Capital Plan to buy new buses, upgrade existing vehicles to make them handicapped accessible and environmentally friendly, and fund needed facility improvements. To accelerate the delivery of the new buses, the MTA will exercise an existing contract option that will enable these vehicles to be in service by the end of next year.
“I would like to thank the Mayor, the Governor, the Assembly and Senate for approving this purchase,” said Chairman Kalikow. “The MTA provides the best and most efficient transportation service in the country and we look forward to bringing that same quality service to new customers in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.”
“The State Assembly is pleased to provide this enhanced level of service at a reasonable cost to City residents, especially working men and women who ride the bus each day to and from their jobs,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “The purchase of these buses will help commuters from my district and from throughout the City get where they have to go,” said Senator Frank Padavan. “Continuing to make transportation capital improvements should be a priority, so that New Yorkers will have the high quality mass transit that they deserve.”
“The approval of this $80 million investment will help ensure that New Yorkers who depend on express bus service for transportation will be able to ride new, clean, safe buses and that important improvements to existing buses and facilities can move forward,” said Senator Serphin Maltese.
The operating authority for the seven private companies was extended to December 4, 2004. Last June, the MTA agreed to provide bus service in the areas currently served by these companies after the extension expires. In October, the MTA Bus Company was established by the Authority to operate this service. The MTA Board also approved $322.5 million for capital related bus improvements, which will ultimately allow for the replacement of a significant number of additional buses. The spending of $80 million is the first installment against this reserve. The City has successfully completed a letter of agreement with Liberty Lines that will pave the way for the transition to MTA bus service.