HDPT Tests New Feature on Transit Buses

Feb. 18, 2015

The Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation (HDPT) is testing a new feature on three transit buses that were just put into service.

The city, using a combination of federal, state, and local dollars, recently purchased three new Gillig transit buses to expand its fleet. Each 35 foot bus has a lifespan of 12 years and costs approximately $390,000. Before they are ready to run on Harrisonburg streets, these buses take approximately 22 months from the time they are ordered until they are delivered. The entire transit bus system will haul as many as 20,000 riders on a daily basis when James Madison University is in session.

While the buses were in production, HDPT was notified of a new feature that could be tested on the buses. The new feature, which has only been installed on buses in one other locality across the United States, is an audible turning announcement. When the bus makes a turn, an audible announcement will be made through speakers, positioned outside of the bus. Pedestrians and bicyclists near the turning bus will be aware of its next maneuver.
As the bus is turning, the announcement says, “Caution, bus turning.” This announcement is first audible in English and then is repeated in Spanish.

“We are always researching new, innovative ways to make our buses safer and more visible to the public,” said HDPT Transit Superintendent Avery Daugherty. “Now that we have the means to make the buses more audible, it should prove to be a positive addition. We hope to add this feature on buses that are purchased in the future.”