Twin Cities transit agencies add MCI Commuter Coaches

Accommodating growing ridership and keeping a pace with equipment-replacement strategies in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Prior Lake and Maple Grove transit agencies have added MCI Commuter Coaches to their fleets.

The two agencies, under the funding and coordination of Metropolitan Council Transit, serve commuters to and from Minneapolis. Prior Lake took delivery of one MCI Commuter Coach. Maple Grove Transit took delivery of three MCI Commuter Coaches last year and four more in March and has plans to add more to its fleet.

Based on the all-time best-selling MCI D-Series, both agencies’ coaches are equipped with Cummins ’07 ISM engines and Allison B500 transmissions, along with Ricon wheelchair lifts, six-camera surveillance systems and Seimens Continental AVL voice annunciation/APC system. The Maple Grove coaches have six outlets for passenger electronics and laptops, and additionally offer provisions for Sportworks bicycle racks These are the agency’s first MCIs.

The Maple Grove MCIs replace shorter, 45-seat transit buses by another maker. The agency follows a 12-year replacement model.

“Most of our buses are full and ridership is increasing,” said Mike Opatz, transit administrator for Maple Grove, which operates commuter routes that average about 20 miles. Most commutes take about half an hour. “It wasn’t so much about the coaches’ style, but people love the look, the ride and the extra space. People who were standing might now have a seat.”