The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) recently awarded a bid for 93 paratransit shuttle buses featuring Thermo King solutions to Coach & Equipment.
Based on proven performance, reliability and durability on their large buses, MARTA also requested that the new buses feature high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units from Thermo King, a manufacturer of transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand.
“MARTA leaders requested Thermo King units because they wanted to optimize energy and operational efficiency for the shuttle buses while ensuring critical guest and driver comfort throughout each ride,” said Steve L. Perry Jr., general superintendent for MARTA.
“Based on MARTA’s previous experience, we agreed that Thermo King units are best suited to withstand the demands of Atlanta metropolitan-area weather – even during the hottest months of the year.”
The 93 new buses include BE-550 bulkhead evaporators with IntelligAIRE III controls. The new lightweight BE-550 bulkhead evaporator for small to mid-size shuttle and school bus applications helps ensure passenger comfort in vehicles where headroom clearance is an issue.
The new bulkhead evaporator is a split system solution that can be mounted in the front, rear, or both bulkhead areas of a vehicle. In general, this unit offers advantages over similar industry solutions that include:
• Approximately 40 percent smaller by volume and more than 20 percent lighter in weight;
• Approximate airflow improvement of more than 5 percent; and,
• Approximately 20 percent greater in capacity.
Three speed blowers provide optimal pulldown on the evaporator to maximize passenger comfort. The blowers and the return-air filter are easily accessible to allow for efficient maintenance.
The evaporator can accommodate either right-side or left-side refrigeration and electrical connections. It features a flexible mounting arrangement and is compatible with skirt-mount and roof condensers.
The new bulkhead evaporator system uses efficient microchannel coils, yielding 40 percent less refrigerant use over conventional systems. The system also reduces operational, maintenance and upfront costs as well as environmental impact.
The new shuttle buses will also feature the IntelligAIRE III microprocessor with advanced diagnostics and J1939 CANBus communication capability.
MARTA currently uses IntelligAIRE III on their large bus systems, and having it on their paratransit fleet enables the transit to standardize HVAC controls across all their fleets and increase ease of maintenance and driver interaction.
The IntelligAIRE III with SAE J1939 Communications Network is an advanced microprocessor-based controller for bus climate control systems which can be programmed for either manual or automatic operation. This third-generation solution helps improve operational efficiency for lower lifecycle costs.
MARTA expects to introduce the new fleet to the streets of Atlanta in September.