ABQ RIDE Expanding Its Sun Van Fleet with a New Look

June 14, 2018
On June 6, 2018, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller unveiled the new Sun Vans that will be added to the ABQ RIDE paratransit fleet.

On June 6, 2018, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller unveiled the new Sun Vans that will be added to the ABQ RIDE paratransit fleet. Making the new fleet vehicles even more special is the unique design on the vehicle itself. Despite retiring 38 older Sun Vans, ABQ RIDE is actually increasing its paratransit fleet to 84 vehicles, by adding 44 new vans.

When they hit the streets later this week, these Sun Vans will feature a distinctive sky blue as their base color. But it’s the design on the sides that may get your attention; a stylized view of the Albuquerque skyline and Sandia Mountains, plus a few interesting details that will draw people’s attention to the vans every time they see them.

“These new Sun Vans demonstrate our commitment to constantly improving service to thousands of paratransit riders,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “The vans are a critical part of making sure folks with disabilities can participate fully in our community, and are now also designed to help showcase Albuquerque.”  

The 44 new, 24 foot vans are manufactured by Glaval Bus of Elkhart, Indiana. Just like more recent models of Sun Vans, these new models still carry up to 14 riders, with room for as many as three wheelchair passengers. But unlike the older vans, the seats and wheelchair securements have been moved around to add more aisle room for passengers.

Each new Sun Van still features the dependable Braun Millennium Series-2 Mobility Lift at the front of the van to load wheelchairs quickly, along with radio equipment and the latest Seon brand cameras. Samsung tablets still help drivers keep track of customers and their intended routes. Utilizing tablets and mounts as opposed to mobile data terminals has saved the City over $6,000 per van.

The new Glaval vans still come with Ford E-450 unleaded-fuel engines, along with quieter, high-capacity Thermal King air conditioners that give comfortable climate control. ABQ RIDE purchased the new Sun Vans for a little over $4.17 million; with a combination of Federal Transit Administration money (85 percent) and City of Albuquerque General Obligation bonds (15 percent). ABQ RIDE will continue to receive the vans and outfit them through the end of May, 2018.

“Our goal is to provide the best service and provide added comfort for our passengers,” said Bernie Toon, director of ABQ RIDE. “This new fleet of vans will help us to serve more people and will do so with a unique design”