Transpo’s First New Bus Arrives

Sept. 16, 2014
Transpo selected the New Flyer Xcelsior to replace the aging Gillig Phantoms and low-floor buses.

The South Bend Public Transportation Corp. (Transpo) saw the arrival of the first new bus in over 11 years on Sept. 16 at the Emil “Lucky” Renzik Administration, Maintenance and Operations Facility. There will be a total of 16 new fixed route buses to replace 15-year old vehicles that have reached and exceeded their useful life.

Transpo selected the New Flyer Xcelsior to replace the aging Gillig Phantoms and low-floor buses. The bus is built in the United States and Transpo worked with New Flyer to utilize as many “Made in Indiana” components as possible. A complete list of Indiana suppliers is included in the attached vehicle overview.

The new buses are powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). The New Flyer Xcelsior is the same length, at 35 feet, as the older buses, but offers four additional seats per vehicle and features a sleek, contemporary look representing the connectivity that Transpo provides throughout South Bend and Mishawaka.

The new vehicles and CNG technology will help Transpo reduce maintenance and overall operating costs, which is critical as funding for public transportation continues to decline. The buses were purchased with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds. Transpo was responsible for a 20 percent local match which comes from funds such as advertising revenue and cash fares. Transpo did not receive any funds from the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka towards the purchase.

“This is an exciting time for Transpo”, said David Cangany, Transpo general manager. “As we strategically plan for the future and focus on sustainable best practices, the new, environmentally-friendly buses utilizing CNG will help reduce our operating costs, provide us with the needed resources to maintain our current level of service and support CNG as an alternate fuel option across the region”, continued Cangany.

Transpo and the city of South Bend previously announced a partnership to build the first fast-fuel CNG facility in the region that will be open to the public. Transpo expects to break ground on the new facility later this year which will be located on their current property. The fueling center is expected to be operational in early 2015. This partnership demonstrates how public transit is an economic engine in the community, providing fleets and other organizations across the region the resources necessary to explore CNG as an alternate fueling option.

Transpo expects to have all 16 new buses on property by the end of year. Once the vehicles are on site, inspections will be completed, equipment installed and operator and maintenance training will take place. The buses should be ready to go into service in early 2015.

Transpo is planning several events for the public to come out and see the new buses.