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New Low-Floor Buses Make Boarding Easy

May 5, 2012 Featured, Public Transit 4 Comments

More of Metro’s new low-floor buses from California transit bus manufacturer GILLIG are on the routes I ride regularly. Eighteen months ago I was lucky to see one and now about half my bus trips are on a new bus. The old buses are worn out, used long after the expected lifespan. Any new bus would be an improvement over the old but the lower floor makes boarding and unboarding easier and faster for everyone — especially those of us using power chairs.

ABOVE: Interior of Metro's new low-floor buses from Gillig

The old high-floor buses had a mechanical lift to bring us up to the right height. One winter I spent 45 minutes stuck on a lift when it malfunctioned, not fun.  The low-floor bus has a piece of the floor that hinges out to provide a ramp. The operation is faster than the old lifts and it can be operated manually in case of a mechanical failure. The lack of steps is great for others not using mobility devices.

Not all are pleased though, Metro says these seat 39 compared to 43 on the older “Phantom” bus. Metro hasn’t provided me with seating diagrams I requested a couple of weeks ago so I cannot verify their numbers.

I’ll just keep enjoying these new buses and hope service improves on many routes to address overcrowding.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    The “lost” seats are most likey the ones over the front wheels.  On low-floor buses, the front wheel wells are too high to have seats, so now you get places to put packages (as shown in your photo). 

  2. aaronlevi says:

    i’m happy that these buses are more accessible, thats a huge improvement. Unfortunately, not only did the buses lose a few seats, they also lost some space between the seats and at 6’4″, i really can’t fit in the seats. I either sit in the seats in the front or back that face inward, or i stand. Also, at least the chippewa bus, is super crowded. Typically every seat is full and the aisle is packed near capacity with standers. Metro really needs to look into the reticulated buses for some of the more popular routes (grand, chippewa, kingshighway,etc…).

  3. Wqcuncleden says:

    I ride the Chippewa bus everyday and YES it IS crowded when they use one of those new buses.  I am only 6 ft and my knees are cramped against the seat infront of me.  Yes they are easier for a wheelchair to get on (or are they?) but once they are on they don’t seem to have as much room to manuver around as they did on the old ones.


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