The city of Los Angeles, the city with the longest and most successful programs for combating air pollution, will get a new ally in its continuing efforts to improve air quality: Motor Coach Industries’ (MCI) compressed natural gas powered, clean air commuter coaches.
On May 19, 2011, The city of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) signed a contract for 84 MCI Commuter Coaches powered by CNG. Each 40-foot coach will be wheelchair-lift equipped and feature MCI’s Cummins ISL G 8.9 liter, 320-hp engine, meeting 2010 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and California’s California Air Resource Board (CARB) standards.
The CNG coaches will be the first MCI models in LADOT’s fleet, and the order includes an option for 11 additional coaches after deliveries begin in the third quarter. “It’s a tremendous honor for MCI to join LADOT’s fleet and we’re particularly glad to make our debut with the nation’s only CNG over-the-road highway coach that’s Buy America compliant and Altoona-tested,” said Michael Melaniphy, vice president of MCI’s Public Sector Division. “We’re pleased to bring our model to a city that’s had a green transportation record longer than any other.”
Each of the new LADOT coaches will seat 49 passengers on the city’s Commuter Express system that connects outlying suburban districts with downtown Los Angeles and other employment centers including Century City, Westwood, LAX, El Segundo, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and Encino.
Comfortable, clean-air coaches for longer L.A. commute
The MCI CNG-equipped Commuter Coaches will replace a majority of the 94 older, heavy-duty diesel buses that now carry Commuter Express passengers. Features on the new MCI Commuter Coaches include plush upholstered forward facing seats, individual overhead reading lights and personal airflow controls and performance features such as an advanced multiplexing system for simplified diagnostics, a driver-centric dash for easy interfacing and a Smart Wave tire pressure monitoring system.
LADOT interim general manager Amir Sedadi said, “Commuter Express riders are very loyal to their service as many have been with us for more than half a decade. We are happy to offer these new state-of-the-art coaches. The City is proud to work with MCI to offer clean air commuter bus service to our residents, in support of our Mayor’s goal to make Los Angeles the largest ‘Green’ city in America.”
LADOT is using Federal Transit Administration grants for 70 percent of the funding for the replacement of its old Commuter Express buses, which are among LADOT’s oldest equipment on the road. The total value of the 84 MCI bus order is $59,220,000.
“One fully occupied 40-foot MCI coach takes 49 passenger cars off the road, and the MCI Commuter coach provides a lower carbon foot print per passenger mile than any other mode of transportation,” said Tom Wagner, director of MCI’s Public Sector Division. MCI first launched a CNG model more than 11 years ago. Today, there are 76 CNG MCI coaches in operation with New Jersey Transit. MCI also offers the Commuter Coach model in clean-diesel and Hybrid configurations and estimates there are a total of 4,000 MCI coaches in operations with commuter transit agencies in major cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.