This will increase the number of hybrid buses in the MTA’s local bus fleet to 361, or 44 percent of the total fleet. The new additions expand MTA’s fleet of 60-foot New Flyer Xcelsior hybrid buses to a total of 52 and will be on the street in time for Preakness on May 18.
The MTA encourages Preakness fans to avoid traffic jams and parking hassles by utilizing MTA services to and from Pimlico Race Course on May 18. Shuttle bus service will operate from Rogers Avenue Metro Station, Coldspring Lane Light Rail Station and from Poly-Western High School.
The state-of-the art diesel-electric hybrid buses that will debut during Preakness are expected to improve emissions, as well as decrease fuel usage and improve reliability – benefits that can translate into significant cost-per-mile operating savings.
"The numbers tell the story,” said MTA Administrator Ralign T. Wells. “With the current diesel fleet major road calls occur every 5,695 miles versus every 18,556 for the hybrid fleet. Fuel mileage is 20 percent higher, brake life is 25 percent longer, and hybrids are found to be 50 percent quieter than diesels.”
The new buses come equipped with a host of safety features such as “ProTran Safe Turn Alert” and curbside and street-side turn aid lights. The buses also feature padded passenger seats for improved passenger comfort, and increased seating capacity.
The 60-foot articulated buses carry 118 sitting and standing passengers compared to 62 sitting and standing passengers on a conventional 40-foot bus. With the higher capacity, the articulated buses will operate primarily on the MTA’s most heavily traveled routes. Like all the other Xcelsiors in the fleet, the new buses have disc brakes, which will reduce maintenance costs.
The Preakness shuttle bus service will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday and will resume once the race is completed until around 7:30 p.m. The best transit option to Preakness is a $3.50 day pass. Round trip passes cost $3.20. Seniors and persons with MTA-issued identification for disability pay $1.20.