Apr 24, 2001

CLEVELAND – The Board of Trustees of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) today agreed to spend $66.2 million for 225 stainless steel low-floor 40-foot buses.

The buses will use the environmentally friendly ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, and an after-treatment particulate filter to remove more than 90 percent of the particulate matter from the exhaust.

These new vehicles will allow RTA to retire some aging vehicles that are up to 19 years old.

The vehicles are being purchased from North American Bus Industries Inc. (NABI) of Anniston, Ala. A total of 120 coaches will arrive in late 2002, and 105 will arrive in mid-2003. RTA has an option to buy up to 200 more coaches to meet service needs.

Cleaner air

"This is great news for RTA," says RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese. "With today's decision, RTA is now on track to be one of the first major transit systems in the nation that will be 100 percent environmentally friendly by 2005. This will include not only RTA's big bus fleet, but also Community Circulators, Paratransit vehicles and the Maple Heights and North Olmsted satellites."

Calabrese saluted the Board of Trustees for their hard work.

"Our Board members really did their homework on this issue," he says. "They spent many hours reading technical information, and during several recent meetings, grilled experts on the pros and cons of various clean fuel technologies."

RTA was one of the first major transit systems in the nation to order compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled buses in 1991, and will continue to use CNG in some 165 buses, Calabrese says.

"These new buses represent the latest in clean fuel technology, and is only in a test phase in New York City," he says. "With this decision, RTA once again will take an industry leadership role. These vehicles will provide many of the same, if not better, environmental benefits than CNG buses at a reduced capital and operating cost."

Officials estimate that purchasing 220 new CNG buses could have eventually cost RTA up to $21 million more.

RTA's current fleet is about 36 percent environmentally friendly, with 165 CNG buses, 521 diesel buses, and 107 electric rail cars.

A more modern fleet

RTA's goal is to replace all big buses when they are 12-13 years old. Now, however, some of the 760 buses in the fleet are up to 19 years old. After this purchase, RTA will adopt a regular schedule of replacing 65 buses annually. That will start in 2004.

"Having a regular rotation will reduce our maintenance costs and allow us to offer even more reliable service," Calabrese says.

RTA Background

RTA's mission is to enhance the quality of life in Greater Cleveland by providing outstanding, cost-effective public transportation services. RTA has been serving Cuyahoga County's 1.4 million residents since 1975. RTA's 3,000 employees operate 750 buses on 1,100 route miles, and 107 rail cars on 34 miles of track. Bus operators drive more than 92,000 route miles every day, and RTA carries more than 45 percent of all public transit riders in Ohio. RTA's bus and rail fleet is the 13th largest in the nation, and the agency is the 20th largest employer in Cuyahoga County. RTA carries an average of 207,000 riders each weekday.

In 2000, more than 59 million passengers rode RTA's trains, buses, Community Circulators and paratransit vehicles. RTA works closely with other area agencies: Brunswick Area Transit, Medina County Transit, Lorain County Transit, Laketran in Lake County and the METRO Regional Transit Authority in Summit County.

For personalized schedule information, call the RTAnswerline, 216-621-9500, from 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday. Persons who are hearing impaired can call 216-781-4271. Commuters can visit RTA's Customer Service Center, 315 Euclid Ave., from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Service information can be accessed at www.rideRTA.com.

Media Contact: Jery Masek, 216-566-5211

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