Pierce Transit rolls out 20 new buses

Pierce Transit is rolling out 20 new 30-foot buses into regular service on Thursday, April 1. These buses are 10 feet shorter than the rest of the fleet, have colorful cloth upholstery, air-conditioning, an eye-catching new color scheme, and improved destination signs. They are equipped with bike racks and wheelchair ramps and are similar to the other Pierce Transit buses.

The delivery of these 30-foot buses fulfills a promise Pierce Transit made during our 2002 ballot campaign to use smaller buses in rural areas. The buses will serve routes in the Gig Harbor area, communities in east Pierce County, and select routes serving Lakewood, Parkland, Puyallup, University Place, and North Tacoma. Bus routes and schedules will remain as published in the rider guide.

New Flyer of America of Crookston, Minnesota, manufactured these 25-seat buses. The $5.74 million contract was funded by a combination of federal and local funds. The Federal Transit Administration, a division of the Federal Department of Transportation, provided 83 percent of the funding with Pierce Transit providing the balance. The new low-floor buses provide Pierce Transit the opportunity to update their look with a fresher, contemporary design that is consistent with updates in other public materials, route signs, and shelters.

The distinctive hump on the roof of the bus indicates that it is a “Clean Machine” fueled by clean-burning compressed-natural gas (CNG) that helps improve air quality for the Puget Sound area. Pierce Transit began using natural gas buses in 1986 and is considered a national leader in the operation of CNG buses for public transportation. CNG buses benefit the Puget Sound area because CNG buses produce 90 percent less particulate emissions than diesel buses. In addition, using CNG reduces the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. By the end of 2004, 100 percent of the Pierce Transit regular service bus fleet will be CNG.

Pierce Transit provides more than 38,000 rides, and takes more than 19,000 cars off our roads every weekday through a system of local and express buses, vanpools, SHUTTLE vans for people with disabilities, and Park & Ride lots.