ST Express takes delivery of ‘next generation’ buses

Sound Transit has taken delivery of 13 coaches in the next generation of buses designed especially for long-haul express service. This initial procurement is a pilot project to determine if a single-door, high capacity long-haul transit bus is appropriate for future fleet purchases. The new buses, manufactured by Motor Coach Industries of Schaumburg, Illinois, will be tested on Sound Transit’s ST Express routes between Dupont, Lakewood, Tacoma and Seattle.

“One word describes our new coaches: comfort,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg.

“Just ease your seat back, put your feet up and before you know it, the driver’s announcing your stop. For commuters who are still looking for a reason to leave their cars in one of our free park-and-ride lots, this is it.”
Each seat in the new coaches faces forward and all recline individually, except for those in the back row. Other amenities include air conditioning, footrests, overhead racks and individual reading lamps.

The new buses are designed and built as suburban coaches. They have a smooth, quiet ride –perfect for ST Express routes that travel long distances and make few stops. At 45 feet, the new buses seat virtually the same number of passengers as a 60 foot articulated bus but take up less room on city streets and at bus stops – without sacrificing comfort or legroom. They are wheelchair accessible.

The new buses will be phased in to service starting with ST Express bus routes 590/591/592/592/594 that serve DuPont, Lakewood, Tacoma and downtown Seattle. They will also run on ST Express Route 586, with service from Tacoma to Seattle’s University District. Sound Transit contracts with Pierce Transit to operate these routes. Sound Transit plans to have the new buses in revenue service next month. The total cost for the 13 new coaches is $5.9 million.