MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After about a 24-month wait, the Mountain Line Transit Authority now has five new buses to offer passengers a new kind of service.
“These are heavy-duty, 102 in wide, 36 ft. long buses,” Chief Executive Officer David Bruffy said. “They seat up to 32 people with additional standing room. And these new buses, we’ll expect them to last us at least 12 years, so they will be in service in the community for a long time.”
According to a release, the five new buses that will travel the various local routes were purchased with Levy Funding as well as Federal Grants. Bruffy said the local match came through excess property tax and was 20 percent of the total budget, with the federal grant covering the remaining 80 percent.
They will be replacing five other heavy-duty buses that were bought in 2009.
Each new bus costs $477,386. All in all, they cost $2,386,930.
“They’re expected to last 12 years or 500,000 miles, so it’s kind of like raising a kid when you buy one of these buses,” Bruffy said. “But for $477,000 a piece, they should be.”
The new buses don’t only offer longevity. They also offer new features.
There are new mobility aids for our passengers. Anyone who is in a wheelchair or a scooter, we now have a securement system that allows the user of those mobility devices to secure themselves so that that they don’t have to ask a driver if they don’t want to. Of course, we still will. But it’s sort of an independence factor on these buses that I really like and I think our community will too as we learn to use them.David Bruffy – CEO, Mountain Line Transit Authority
There are even some additional features put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic response, Bruffy said.
“We put in tip-in windows on these buses so we can create greater airflow,” he said. “We changed the HVA system on them so that they have about 20 percent more air circulation throughout. And we did small things like we changed the fabric seating to a plastic seating so it would be easier and quicker to sanitize. We got a – we’ll probably still use that magic shower curtain that we have used as a barrier between passengers and the driver. But we actually did get plexiglass barriers built into these buses, so that will be a permanent fixture.”
All these new features and how they will positively benefit passengers and drivers is something that Mountain Line is “really excited” about, its CEO said.
“It’s always our goal to try and improve our service, the amenities, the facilities,” Bruffy said. “I think that with the investment that the community has made through support of the excess property tax levy that this is a return on their investment that they will see for a long, long time.”
For additional information about the Mountain Line, visit its website or call 304-291-RIDE.